Kiwis win to clinch series
England suffer third straight defeat to ruin Pietersen's captaincy bow
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: June 28, 2008 7:50pm
Pietersen: failed to inspire troops
Kevin Pietersen's debut as England captain ended in defeat as New Zealand secured the NatWest Series with a 51-run victory at Lord's.
South African-born Pietersen was leading his adopted country due to the four-match suspension incurred by regular skipper Paul Collingwood for a slow over-rate during Wednesday's fourth ODI loss at the Oval.
The England batsmen failed for the third match in a row, slumping to 215 all out in pursuit of a target of 267, despite Owais Shah's 69, to surrender the series by a 3-1 margin.
New Zealand had looked set for a below-par total after being asked to bat, until the runs flowed in the final stages courtesy of some big-hitting from Jacob Oram (52) and man-of-the-match Scott Styris (87no).
Thrill of the chase
England had looked on course for a series-levelling triumph when openers Ian Bell and Alastair Cook began the run chase with an untroubled stand of 53 in 11.1 overs.
However, Bell again flattered to deceive with some flowing drives to reach 27 off 34 balls before walking across his stumps and being trapped lbw by Mark Gillespie.
And the tourists seized back the initiative when teenage seamer Tim Southee (3-49) claimed the wickets of Cook and Pietersen.
Luke Wright had slotted back down into the middle-order to allow Cook - who replaced Collingwood in the only change to England's starting line-up - to partner Bell at the top of the order.
But the Essex left-hander edged behind for 24 and, when Pietersen followed to a sliced drive for a painstaking six, the hosts were wobbling at 86-3.
That wobble was approaching full-scale crisis at 101-4 when Ravi Bopara's promising innings was ended on 30 by a quicker delivery from Daniel Vettori.
And although Shah battled valiantly against a spiralling required-rate, he lacked support from the lower middle-order, a familiar theme during the series.
Vettori (3-32) accounted for Wright (6) and Tim Ambrose (2). Kyle Mills (2-55) then returned for a second spell to remove Graeme Swann (12) and Stuart Broad (5) as the Kiwis closed in.
Shah did at least bring up a 63-ball half-century before being ninth out and Gillespie (2-29) then removed last man James Anderson (0) to get the tourists' celebrations underway.
Styris to the rescue
Earlier, Styris' unbeaten 87 had got New Zealand up to a competitive score. The one-day specialist smashed the final 40 runs of his unbeaten 87 in just 17 deliveries as the Black Caps collected 96 runs from the final 10 overs.
That was an injection of much-needed momentum after the top-order had struggled to impose themselves on a two-paced surface.
England's fielding display was scarred by dropped chances - although of the four that went down only wicketkeeper Ambrose's failure to take a skied top-edge from opener Jamie How in the sixth over was a straightforward opportunity.
Ambrose had got himself into position to take the catch but somehow let it bounce out of his gloves to the obvious displeasure of the unfortunate bowler Anderson.
How (22) added a further 18 runs to his personal tally before the first-change introduction of Broad (2-50) turned the momentum England's way.
The Nottinghamshire seamer had How (22) held at backward point from a sliced drive, and followed up by dismissing Ross Taylor (4), caught behind.
And when an out-of-sorts Brendon McCullum (23) edged the pacy Anderson (1-46) to Swann at slip in the 19th over, New Zealand were struggling on 71-3.
But Styris steadied things, initially in partnership with Daniel Flynn and, having been reprieved by a marginal television replay decision from a stumping appeal off Swann in the 40th over, flourished in the latter stages.
Flynn reached 35 from 54 balls before being bowled by a Swann delivery that beat him in the flight, leaving the stage free for Oram.
The all-rounder dominated a 77-run fifth-wicket stand with Styris before holing out to long-on from Swann's (2-33) final delivery.
Three times he cleared the boundary, the latter two huge blows to midwicket off Shah's occasional off-spin.
With Oram gone, the previously sedate Styris changed pace, hooking Anderson for six to get to a 75-ball half-century and opening his shoulders to clatter the same bowler over cover.
It was an enormous blow into the top tier of the grandstand that stole the show, however, as Ryan Sidebottom's (0-52) excellent early figures received a makeover when he returned at the death.