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England claim tight series as inexperienced players stake a claim.
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Dawid Malan ended a dramatic T20I series as England’s Most Valuable Player with the tourists claiming another incredible Super Over victory over New Zealand to win the series.
The left-handed batsman was a picture of consistency in the four games he played, creating history in the process in scoring his country’s fastest ever T20I century as he achieved 62.61 MVP points to end the five-match series ahead of captain Eoin Morgan and all-rounder Chris Jordan.
Just months after the most dramatic World Cup final in the history of the competition, Jordan hit a four of the final delivery of the reduced 11-over encounter to tie the game and take it to another one-over decider. Morgan and Jonny Bairstow hit 17 between them with the Sussex death bowler the star with the ball too, taking one wicket and going for just eight runs to hand the tourists the trophy.
However, Malan will leave New Zealand as the T20I MVP, a format he has excelled in for his country. Previously winning the format specific accolade for the 2017/18 winter, he has not managed to hold down a place in the shortest format due to the strength of this England team.
The 32-year-old has played nine T20Is, going past 50 on six of those occasions at an average of 57.25. Added to a strike-rate of 156.31 it is safe to say the man who finished in sixth position in the 2019 Blast MVP Rankings has taken his opportunity with places in the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup up for grabs.
The series was full of positives for Morgan’s men after he led an experimental squad against the Kiwis. With seven players rested including the likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, it provided a perfect opportunity for the inexperienced squad with many taking their chances to impress under the new head coach Chris Silverwood.
The series saw six debutants with Pat Brown and Lewis Gregory handed their international debuts in the opener, joining Sam Curran in earning their first T20I cap. Curran and Brown shared identical figures of 1-33 but it was Chris Jordan who led the attack taking two wickets for just 28 runs.
In the first game of the tour in Christchurch, Sam joined his World Cup winning brother Tom Curran in opening the bowling, the first ever brothers to do so for England in any form of international cricket.
After restricting the hosts to 153-5 from their 20 overs, England made light work of the chase, largely thanks to the man who was awarded the MVP of the match, James Vince. With top order batsmen missing, it was the Hampshire captain who scored his maiden T20I half century, hitting 59 off 28 balls. Skipper Morgan won the game with a six, not the first time in his career, in his 21-ball 34.
England then fell to successive defeats, despite some positives, Gregory took a wicket with his first delivery in international cricket and the Royal London One-Day Cup MVP Saqib Mahmood made his T20I bow, taking the wicket of Tim Seifert. However, all-rounder Jordan was the leader with the ball once again, taking 3-23 from his four overs.
The target of 177 proved 21 too many with only three Englishmen scoring more than 15 runs with Malan, Morgan and Jordan scoring 107 between them with the Sussex man taking the MVP award with his 36 runs at a strike-rate of 189.47.
On top of traditional batting and bowling averages, bonus MVP points are awarded for key disciplines such as claiming top-order wickets, scoring quick runs and taking catches in the field with Jordan also taking a catch which helped him to 24.35 MVP points.
The third fixture followed a similar path, the leader of the MVP Jordan was rotated for the fixture which saw New Zealand win by 14 runs. In a game where Matthew Parkinson and PCA Young Player of the Year Tom Banton were handed their maiden caps, England were in control at 139-2 with impressive performances from Malan and Vince but when they were removed the hosts produced some tight bowling to lead the series 2-1.
With the tour moving to Napier, the performance of the tour so far was delivered where fireworks from Malan and Morgan saw a whole host of records broken. England’s highest ever partnership with the pair producing 182 runs, highest total of 241-3 while Morgan scored his sides quickest ever 50, coming off just 21 balls. However, the headliner was the MVP Malan who became just the second player to score a T20I hundred for England, after Alex Hales.
The new Yorkshire recruit reached the milestone off 48 balls to hold the record as the quickest in T20I for his country. With six maximums and nine fours his unbeaten 103 has put him in the driving seat for future squads with the T20 World Cup just 11 months away. Morgan himself reached a career best 91, amazingly coming off just 41 balls and was dismissed in the final over aiming to power his way to a maiden T20 hundred.
The 50-over World Cup winners never looked like losing the game and Parkinson took 4-47, including the prize wickets of the Colin Munro and Colin de Grandhomme to help set-up the decider at Eden Park in Auckland which resulted in the Super Over thriller.
With Malan leading the Overall MVP for the winter, the attention now turns to the whites with two Test Matches meaning it is likely a new player will end the tour in top spot. However, it is likely Malan will have further opportunity to add to his 62.61 MVP points in South Africa with a three game series taking place in February as preparation for the World Cup continues.
View the England MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.