Eoin Morgan’s dashing 88 off 47 balls inspired England to within sight of a famous victory before New Zealand earned a series-levelling 13-run victory on the Duckworth-Lewis method in a riveting, record-breaking second one-day international at the Oval.
Morgan was in majestic form after the tourists posted 398-5, their highest ODI total ever against England thanks to an unbeaten 119 off 96 balls from Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson’s 93.
Three days after conceding 408-9 and losing the first ODI by 210 runs, the Black Caps made history by surpassing the best tally ever made at the ground, the 347-4 scored by New Zealand against the USA in the ICC Champions Trophy match of September 2004.
That was also the highest score England have ever conceded in a one-day international, eclipsing the 387-5 they conceded against India in Rajkot in 2008.
But the home side hit back to register the highest ever ODI score by an England side batting second on the back of Morgan’s dazzling innings and Alex Hales’ maiden ODI fifty.
When the rain arrived Morgan’s men were still in the hunt at 345-7 off 34.5 overs – just nine runs behind the Duckworth-Lewis par score as Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett added 70 runs in 7.4 overs.
After a 48-minute delay, England were left to chase a chasing a revised target of 379 off 46 overs, leaving them needing 34 runs off 13 balls.
Plunkett (44 off 30) launched Nathan McCullum for six before holing out and Rashid (34 off 26) fell to a superb combination catch on the boundary, Tim Southee parrying the ball back for Trent Boult to catch one-handed above his head.
The task of scoring 24 off the final over proved too much and the home side finished on 365-9 having more than played their part in dazzling contest featuring a record match aggregate of 763 runs scored in an ODI in England.
Earlier Taylor’s hundred – the 13th of his ODI career – featured four sixes and 10 fours and was built on an ideal platform laid by openers Martin Guptill (50) and Brendon McCullum (39 off 22).
Given a life on seven when Roy failed to hold a fiercely cut chance at backward point, Taylor went on to post a century stand with Williamson off just 76 balls.
Williamson seemed poised for a hundred of his own until he failed to connect properly with a Ben Stokes full toss, Liam Plunkett taking a tumbling catch.
Cameos from Grant Elliott (32 off 15 balls) and Luke Ronchi (33 off 16 balls) powered the total towards 400 as Taylor completed his century in the 48th over, reaching the landmark off 87 balls.
England’s chase likewise began with a flourish as Hales (54 off 39) and Roy (39 off 37) put on 85 for the first wicket in 12.3 overs.
Roy enjoyed an early life himself when Nathan McCullum missed a straightforward chance at slip but scored at better a run-a-ball only to fall reverse sweeping.
Hales struck three sixes to power to his half-century off just 43 balls before he was the second of two wickets to fall in three balls with the score on 100, the opener top-edging a sweep off Mitchell Santner in similar fashion to Joe Root (six).
Morgan continued to motor on, though, reaching his second successive fifty off just 28 balls as he and Stokes formed an enterprising stand of 63 runs in just 5.4 overs.
England’s captain smote the ball to all parts of the Oval as he and Buttler, dropped on 26 at slip by Taylor, ran riot, adding 96 in 10.3 overs.
Buttler (41 off 38) was caught behind with 140 needed from just under 18 overs and 15 runs later England’s victory hopes suffered another major setback when Morgan cut Mitchell McClenaghan to deep point.
Rashid and Plunkett remained true to England’s new-found attacking philosophy, so much so that the match was back in the balance only for their momentum to be interrupted by bad weather.
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