London, July 14: England, three-times runners-up previously, had bowled and fielded superbly to restrict 2015 runners-up New Zealand to 241-8, with Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes each taking three wickets.
Henry Nicholls made 55 and Tom Latham 47 without ever really looking comfortable but the score began to look challenging as England slumped to 86-4 before Stokes and Buttler put on 110 to set up the amazing finale.
New Zealand post 241-8
New Zealand once again put up a modest batting performance under overcast conditions to post 241 for eight against a quality England pace attack that kept on asking probing questions.
Henry Nicholls (55 off 77 balls) and skipper Kane Williamson (30, 53 balls) added 74 runs for the second wicket after a fabulous first spell from Chris Woakes (3/37 in 9 overs) and Jofra Archer (1/42 in 10 overs) on a helpful Lord’s track.
While Woakes had the best figures statistically, it was the tall Liam Plunkett (3/42 in 10 overs), who used the cross-seam variations effectively to stop the Black Caps on their tracks.
They would now be hoping that their pace bowlers use the conditions as well as the England bowlers did in the first half.
Only Tom Latham (47 off 56 balls) contributed in the middle overs in another mediocre effort from the New Zealanders on another big day.
Martin Guptill (19 off 18 balls) had started on a positive note but after surviving a caught behind appeal off Archer, he wasn’t lucky the second time when Woakes got one to slightly shape in and he was caught plumb in-front.
Williamson and Nicholls, just like the India game, were trying to preserve their wicket with occasional boundaries. They were steady during their 16.2 over stand without being spectacular.
It was Plunkett, who got the all important wicket of Williamson when the New Zealand skipper tried to play away from his body and the nick was snapped by Buttler.
Plunkett then removed another set batsman Nicholls with a cross seam delivery that had the left-hander playing on while shaping up for a big shot.
After it became 118 for three from a comfortable 103 for one, New Zealand could never effectively force the pace.
The England bowling had variations of every type – Archer hurled it full and fast on the blockhole, Plunkett bowled back of the length and Woakes, who used his slower variations in the final overs, made life difficult for the New Zealand batsmen. Agencies
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