Rutherford, McCullum spur NZ

Rutherford, McCullum spur NZ

Brilliant half-centuries by Hamish Rutherford and Brendon McCullum set New Zealand on its way to a five-run victory over England in the first of two Twenty20 internationals at The Oval here.

Rutherford (62 off 35 balls) and McCullum (68) put on a second-wicket stand of 114 to help the Kiwis post 201 for four, a record T20 score against England, under the floodlights in south London on Tuesday.

The hosts, looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to India in the Champions Trophy final on Sunday, got off to a flyer in the chase and Luke Wright weighed in with 52 to leave them requiring 16 runs off the last over.

Ben Stokes smashed a six off the first ball but he and Ravi Bopara (30 not out) couldn’t find the boundary off the next five and New Zealand squeezed home.

Fifteen sixes were hit in an entertaining game but England couldn’t find the big hits when it mattered in the final over. “We were only two blows away from winning the game,” England captain Eoin Morgan said.