Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood made his T20I debut as England stumbled to a 21-run loss to New Zealand in the second match of the series.
The tourists were left rueing a sloppy display in the field, including a host of dropped catches, as they failed to chase down 176-8 in Wellington.
Mahmood, who was awarded his first cap by Lancashire legend David Lloyd, showed his nerves as he posted expensive figures of 1-46.
His performance was largely overshadowed by Chris Jordan (3-23) and Sam Curran (2-22), as he failed to replicate the one-day form he showed for Lancashire over the summer – including being lead wicket-taker in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
England then lost Johnny Bairstow to the first ball of their run-chase, and despite cameos from Eoin Morgan (32 off 17) and Dawid Malan (39 off 29), the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals as they limped to 155.
Chris Jordan gave England brief hope as he smashed three sixes in a row in the 14th over during an aggressive 36-run knock, but when he became Santner’s third victim the visitors lost all momentum.
Ultimately, lax fielding – including three dropped catches by James Vince – and a below-par batting display meant that New Zealand succeeded in tying the series, with the spoils shared amongst an impressive bowling attack.
Captain Eoin Morgan believes that their defeat is a learning curve for the young players in the squad.
He said: “We need to continue with a positive, aggressive mindset, particularly with a young side. I think it’s important to make mistakes – if guys can learn from that in the early part of their career it will put them in a really strong position later on.”
Man of the Match Mitchell Santner (3-25), praised his side’s progress.
He said: “I think it was more of a complete performance. We talked after the last game about being a bit more in the field and when the fielders are backing the bowlers up it makes that’s much easier. I think we improved in all three facets.”
Photo by itravelNZ, under Creative Commons license