McCullum and Wright run riot in World T20
Brendon McCullum smashed a record 123 off 58 balls and Luke Wright made an unbeaten 99 as New Zealand and England eased to emphatic wins in the World Twenty20 on Friday.
McCullum plundered seven sixes and 11 boundaries to notch up the highest individual score in T20 internationals as the Black Caps piled up 191-3 in a group D match against Bangladesh in Pallekele.
Bangladesh managed only 132-8 to lose by 59 runs, with Tim Southee (3-16) and Kyle Mills (3-33) sharing the spoils.
Defending champions England brushed aside Afghanistan by 116 runs in group A in Colombo, knocking the minnows out of the 12-nation tournament to ensure a place in the Super Eights round along with India.
Wright’s 55-ball knock was the best effort by an English batsman in T20 cricket as his team piled up 196-5 after being sent in to bat, before Afghanistan were dismissed for 80 in 17.2 overs.
Afghanistan, reduced to 26-8, were in danger of falling below the lowest ever total in T20 internationals of 67 by Kenya against Ireland in 2008, when Gulbodin Naib and Shapoor Zadran provided unexpected resistence by adding 44 for the ninth wicket.
Naib, who came to bat at number eight, scored more than half of his team’s runs before he was last man out for 44 off 32 balls that included five fours and three sixes.
But none of the other batsmen reached double figures as Jade Dernbach, skipper Stuart Broad, Samit Patel and Graeme Swann picked up two wickets each.
Afghanistan’s second successive defeat in the tournament — they had lost to India by 23 runs on Wednesday — meant both England and India entered the second round even before their league match in Colombo on Sunday.
“Wright’s innings was outstanding and when the guys came in at the end and struck the ball, it was very powerful and exciting to see,” said Broad.
“It was a good win. We’ll be fired up and wanting a win against India and that’s the only attitude to take when you cross the line.” Wright, who helped England add 87 runs in the last five overs, was delighted with his man of the match winning effort.
“It was a bit of a special evening,” the 27-year-old said. “I was desperate to play well and win games for England so it’s special to be man of the match.
“As I’ve got older I’ve gone away and tried to work on my game and prove that I’m a better player.” In Pallekele, New Zealand captain Ross Taylor was all praise for McCullum’s century and hoped the win will provide the necessary momentum in a group that also includes Pakistan.
“When you have someone score a century in T20 you’re always in the box seat,” said Taylor. “Hopefully this win will give us momentum.” Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim conceded McCullum made the difference between the two sides.
“We bowled well in the first few overs but McCullum....even when he doesn’t hit the ball well, it’s still going for six,” said Rahim. “We’ll look at our strengths and come up with a new strategy for the next game.” New Zealand next play Pakistan on Sunday and Bangladesh clash with Pakistan on Tuesday. The top two teams from the group will qualify for the Super Eights round.