Playing with points to prove, Harry Brook and Dawid Malan guided England to an easy win over New Zealand in the first of four T20Is between the teams.
Brook (43 not out off 27 balls) and Malan (54 off 42) shared a 54-run partnership as England reached their target of 140 with six overs to spare at Chester-le-Street for a seven-wicket victory.
England’s selectors surprisingly left Brook out of the squad for the 50-over World Cup in India starting in October but his form is making a mockery of that decision.
Widely viewed as an explosive batsman, he starred in the recently completed edition of The Hundred and was devastating against New Zealand in hitting three sixes and two fours.
Malan, meanwhile, got a much-needed big score after some patchy recent form, reaching fifty for the 16th time in T20Is. Liam Livingstone (10 not out) got England over the line with a huge pull for six. Jos Buttler, England’s captain and star batter, wasn’t even needed to bat.
Malan and Livingstone are in England’s World Cup squad and Brook is putting huge pressure on selectors to get the call, too.
Brief scores: New Zealand 139/9 in 20 ovs (Glenn Phillips 41). England 143/3 in 14 ovs (Dawid Malan 54, Harry Brook 43 n.o.). England won by 7 wickets.