Liam Livingstone’s 95 not out helped England secure a 79-run victory over New Zealand in the second ODI in Southampton on Sunday
The English side is set to defend their World Cup title against New Zealand in Ahmedabad on October 5. They collapsed initially to 8-3 in a game which was reduced to 34 overs due to rain.
They were still struggling at 55-5 in the 13th over when Livingstone came into bat.
But he took England to 226-7 and New Zealand were then dismissed for 147 as the hosts levelled the four-match series at 1-1
Reece Topley, whose 3-27 ended a wait of over a year for an ODI wicket, and fellow left-arm quick David Willey (3-34) did the damage with the ball.
New Zealand great Trent Boult had marked his 100th ODI — and first in nearly a year — by taking the first three England wickets to fall, the veteran left-arm quick removing Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes.
But Livingstone’s career-best ODI innings, a tribute to his composure as much as his celebrated hitting power, bolstered the total and enhanced his prospects of selection for England’s final 15-man World Cup squad.
Sam Curran (42) offered fellow all-rounder Livingstone excellent support in a sixth-wicket stand of 112 in 77 balls.
“I wouldn’t quite say it was a rescue mission," said man-of-the-match Livingstone.
“We pride ourselves on depth in our batting and getting out of situations like today. I thought Sammy (Curran) batted really well."
Livingstone, whose 52 was a rare England highlight during their comprehensive eight-wicket defeat by New Zealand at Sophia Gardens on Friday, added: “It has been a frustrating year for me…The innings at Cardiff did myself the world of good."
England captain Jos Buttler was elated after a victory that ended a run of three straight white-ball losses to New Zealand, who won the last two matches of a drawn Twenty20 series.
“From the position we found ourselves in to post a score was credit to the way we wanted to play," he said. “The partnership between Livingstone and Curran was fantastic."
New Zealand skipper Tom Latham added: “I think we’re disappointed, we started outstandingly with Trent Boult back in the mix…Setting a score is probably harder (in a 34-over match) than knowing what was needed to do. It was a great innings from Liam Livingstone, credit to him."
New Zealand, defeated by England in a dramatic 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s, lost a wicket to the second ball of their chase when the big-hitting Finn Allen was bowled for a duck by Willey.
Devon Conway, fresh from a hundred in Cardiff, was then caught behind off fast bowler Gus Atkinson for 14.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali then struck twice in three balls, with Daryl Mitchell — who also made a Cardiff century — falling for 57 to leave New Zealand on the brink at 140-8 before Willey polished off the tail.
Earlier, Boult ripped through England’s top order after Latham won the toss at a then-overcast Rose Bowl.
Boult had Bairstow superbly caught one-handed by Mitchell Santner at cover and, two balls later, dismissed Root for a second-ball nought with an inswinger. It was Root’s fourth duck in his last 10 ODI innings.
England were three down when Stokes (one) miscued Boult. The 34-year-old Boult had taken a remarkable three wickets for no runs in eight balls.
But Livingstone and Moeen stopped the rot during a stand of 48 before Curran added fresh impetus.
Livingstone demonstrated his game awareness by not hitting a six until 73 balls into his innings when he pulled paceman Matt Henry.
The series continues at the Oval on Wednesday.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - AFP)