Ross Taylor’s career-best knock of 181 not-out steered New Zealand in a tense chase as the hosts achieved the target of 336 to beat England by five wickets. Taylor’s magnificent effort also allowed New Zealand to level the series 2-2.
The game featured two more centuries, both by English batsmen, Jonny Bairstow (138) and Joe Root (102) but it was Taylor’s sensational hundred that stole the limelight. The New Zealand batsman came to crease when the hosts were struggling at 2 wickets down for two runs as openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro departed in the third over of the innings.
From there on, Taylor ransacked England with his walloping hitting and nerveless approach. He first added 84 runs with skipper Kane Williamson and then stitched the match-winning partnership of 187 runs with Tom Latham who scored 71 runs.
Taylor then tagged with Colin de Grandhomme and Henry Nicholls to help New Zealand reach the target of 336 in 49.3 overs. In the process, he brought up his 19th international century and played what could be regarded as his best ODI knock.
What made the century even more special was the fact that more than 50 of his last runs came when he was struggling heavily with a cramped leg. The right-hand batsman couldn’t run doubles in the later stages of the game and was literally limping but the pain and fatigue couldn’t deter him from tearing apart English bowlers.
Earlier in the day, Jason Roy (42 runs off 41 balls) powered England to a flying start and centuries from Bairstow and Root laid a foundation for a massive score. The partnership of 190 runs off 168 balls between Root and Bairstow for the second wicket threatened to push New Zealand out of the game but the hosts came by strongly and picked up six wickets in just 21 runs.
From 267 for 1, England was reduced to 305 for 8 until Tom Curran’s cameo of 22 runs off 10 balls pushed them to 335 in 50 overs. Ish Sodhi ate England’s middle over and picked up four wickets by conceding 58 runs. Trent Boult and Munro picked up two wickets each.
With the series now leveled at 2-2, the two teams will meet each other in the 5th ODI on Saturday, March 10 at Christchurch to decide the fate of the series.