A masterful century by Jonny Bairstow complemented an exceptional bowling spell as England cruised to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand to claim the one-day international series 3-2 in Christchurch on Saturday.
Bairstow’s heroics with the bat — 104 off 60 deliveries — backed by 61 from fellow opener Alex Hales saw England overhaul New Zealand’s 223 with a colossal 104 balls remaining to wrap up the winner-takes-all showdown.
“Our bowlers really did set the tone,” said captain Eoin Morgan who won the toss and made New Zealand bat first.
Chris Woakes, the man of the series, lead the way with three for 32 off his 10 overs while spinner Adil Rashid finished with three for 42.
“Johnny (Bairstow) played particularly well… but really the game today was won by our bowling unit,” Morgan added in a sentiment shared by Bairstow who ensured an early end with his 104 from 60 deliveries.
“They set the platform and they have done first up all the way through the series,” said Bairstow.
“The way the guys have taken wickets early on has enabled us to turn the screw through the middle. My job is to go out and try and score big hundreds and contribute to match winning scores and that’s something I’m trying to do.”
The stark contrast in performances was highlighted in the middle of the 26th over in each innings when New Zealand were 93 for six while England were 192 for two at the same stage.
– ‘Really disappointing’ –
Disappointed New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson struggled to find something positive say about his side apart from “a good showing” by Mitchell Santner and Henry Nicholls who put on 84 for the seventh wicket.
“It was a really disappointing effort from our part,” he said.
“You want to come out and play a performance you’d be proud of and today we (didn’t) in all facets. It was a shame. England were outstanding and they deserved to win the series.”
Bairstow toyed with the best of New Zealand’s bowling stocks as he smacked nine fours and six sixes.
He eventually brought about his own downfall by belting the stumps as he stepped back to cut a wide Trent Boult delivery.