ENGLAND skipper Eoin Morgan has prioritised style over substance after his side mustered a record run chase in a seven-wicket demolition of New Zealand at Trent Bridge last night to set up a winner-takes-all finale to the one-day series.
The rampant hosts successfully chased down 350 with six overs to spare, eclipsing their previous best pursuit of 306-5 against Pakistan in 2000, as irrepressible stroke-making duo Morgan and Joe Root underpinned the innings with majestic hundreds.
New Zealand had earlier posted 349-7 as the prolific Kane Williamson top scored once again with 90, while his knock was boosted by opener Martin Guptill and Grant Elliott who both struck half-centuries.
The exhilarating series is locked at 2-2 with Saturday’s clash at Chester-le-Street now the decider, and Morgan insists England’s one-day evolution and focus on an aggressive brand of cricket is more significant than the outcome of one five-match showdown.
“The style is more important,” admitted Morgan, who struck his eighth one-day international century last night. “We’re trying to change something that probably does not come as naturally to us as other nations.
“It’s the way we play that’s important and it’s very encouraging at the moment. We’ve played very consistently, particularly with the bat but it is no good trying to change something if you’re not doing it in a winning side, so that’s a massive bonus.
“Going into the game at Durham, there is a lot on the line but we’ll be firmly focused on the process.”
England’s victory march started in the field but not before Guptill had shared 88 with fellow opener and New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, as Williamson once again joined forces with Ross Taylor to post a hefty 100 plus partnership.
Seamers Steve Finn and Mark Wood returned impressive figures of 1-51 and 1-49 from their respective 10-over allocations, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid recovered from Mitchell Santner smashing 28 off a single over to concede just five off the 50th.
New Zealand posted an imposing 349-7 but England started at a blistering pace. Openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales reached 97-0 off the first 10 overs, as the latter cleared the boundary ropes four times on his way to an explosive 67.
When both fell in quick succession to medium-pacer Matt Henry, the baton passed to Morgan and Root, who combined to post England’s biggest ever partnership against New Zealand in a one-day international.
Morgan struck five sixes and 12 boundaries before holing out to Henry off New Zealand quick Tim Southee, although no Black Caps bowler escaped punishment of less than seven an over. Root finished unbeaten on 106 after surpassing 2,000 career one-day international runs.