England recovers from woeful start to beat New Zealand by 79 runs in rain-affected 2nd ODI

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — From 8-3 after 4.2 overs, England rallied brilliantly to post 226-7 and then skittle New Zealand for 147 to win a rain-affected second match of its one-day international series by 79 runs on Sunday.

Liam Livingstone plundered an unbeaten 95 off 78 balls to push England to a respectable total after the match had been reduced to 34 overs per team because of morning rain that delayed the start by three hours.

That score didn't look on when Trent Boult, playing his 100th ODI, put England in a hole early by removing Jonny Bairstow (6), Joe Root (0) and Ben Stokes (1) in a stunning start for New Zealand.

Only Daryl Mitchell (57 in 52) and Will Young (33) got above 20 in the chase by the tourists, which ended after only 26.5 overs with David Willey (3-34) and Reece Topley (3-27) having England's best bowling figures.

The four-match series is 1-1 heading into the third ODI at The Oval on Wednesday. New Zealand won the opening match by eight wickets in Cardiff.

The teams tied their Twenty20 series 2-2 last week and will meet in the first match of the 50-over Cricket World Cup in India on Oct. 5, when England will be defending its title after beating New Zealand in an epic 2019 final.

After the early blitz from Boult (3-37), Matt Henry got a top-edge from Harry Brook (2) for a soft dismissal and Livingstone — down at No. 7 — was brought to the crease sooner than expected on 55-5 when Jos Buttler dragged spinner Mitchell Santner onto his stumps for a quickfire 30 off 25 balls.

The big-hitting Livingstone steadied the innings by sharing partnerships of 48 with Moeen Ali (33) and, most tellingly, 112 with Sam Curran (42). It was his second straight fifty of the series after 52 off 40 in the first ODI won by New Zealand in dominant fashion on Friday.

It was Livingstone’s third ODI half-century in 12 matches, with a pulled six off Henry getting England past 200 — a milestone that looked beyond the hosts a couple of hours earlier. He thumped nine fours as well as that one six in his longest innings in any format since 2019.

It was a big innings for Livingstone, a fixture in England's World Cup-winning Twenty20 team but in a fight to nail a place in the ODI team.

“I think that’s what I’ve been crying out for — I’ve been looking for one-day cricket to have proper time in the middle," he said. "It’s weird, I’ve won the World Cup but probably had the worst year of my career for form and had two bad injuries. It’s been a tough couple of months.

“I’m a better player than someone who comes in and just slogs it at the end.”

Willey struck with the second ball of New Zealand’s reply, snaking through the defense of Finn Allen — one of three changes made by the Black Caps — and knocking back middle stump. Devon Conway, an unbeaten centurion in Cardiff like Mitchell, made a scratchy 14 before driving loosely and edging behind to give Gus Atkinson his first ODI wicket.

Mitchell overturned being given out on 0 but Young was stopped in his tracks by Willey’s direct hit for a run-out. Topley then followed up a parsimonious opening five-over spell by ending a 56-run union between Mitchell and New Zealand captain Tom Latham (19), who hung his bat out uncertainly and edged behind to Buttler.

Having claimed his first wicket in five ODIs, Topley swung the game in England’s favor in his next over by taking a return catch off Glenn Phillips before Ravindra wafted to slip two balls later.

Mitchell, as he had done at Sophia Gardens, bristled with intent. And after going to 50 at better than a run a ball, he launched Ali back over his head for six.

However, he was dismissed when clubbing a full toss to mid-off from Ali's very next ball.

New Zealand’s hopes vanished with his departure and Willey claimed the last two wickets in quick succession.

“Willey and Topley were impressive," said Buttler, England's captain. "We spoke about improving our powerplay bowling from the other day. We were very good throughout the innings with the ball.”


AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket