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Malan-Morgan fireworks help England level T20 series in NZ

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By Reuters

NAPIER (Reuters) – Dawid Malan smashed a 48-ball century and skipper Eoin Morgan made a blistering 91 to help secure a series-levelling 76-run victory in the fourth Twenty20 international against New Zealand on Friday.

Malan and Morgan featured in a massive 182-run partnership to power England to 241-3, their highest total in this format, hitting 13 sixes between them.

When the teams returned, spinner Matt Parkinson claimed 4-47 as New Zealand were all out for 165 in the 17th over, squaring the series at 2-2.

Auckland hosts the fifth and final match on Sunday.

Put into bat, England lost Jonny Bairstow in the fourth over while Tom Banton made 31 before becoming Mitchell Santner’s second victim.

Morgan walked out to join Malan and the left-handers lit up McLean Park.

Malan became only the second Englishman to hit a century in a Twenty20 International when he smacked his sixth six, reaching the mark quicker than Alex Hales with his 60-ball hundred against Sri Lanka during the 2014 World Cup.

Malan’s unbeaten 103 off 51 balls also included nine boundaries.

“Not very often you have days like that when every time you have a hack at one it lands safe or goes for six,” Malan said after collecting the man-of-the-match award.

“It’s as good as it gets.

“Felt like I had rhythm today, glad I clicked especially with these short boundaries.”

Morgan, at the other end, put up a six-hitting display of his own, clobbering seven of them as he threatened to eclipse Malan’s hundred.

The England captain, twice caught off waist-high full-tosses which were subsequently adjudged no-balls, eventually holed out after his 41-ball blitz.

England, who were 88-2 at the halfway mark, plundered 153 runs from the final 10 overs.

Martin Guptill (27) and Colin Munro (30) put on 54 runs for the opening stand before the wheels came off New Zealand’s chase.

Tom Curran dismissed Guptill and Parkinson (4-47) struck twice in the seventh over to rock the hosts.

Tim Southee hit four sixes in his 39 but New Zealand did not get a significant partnership that could take them close to the target.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)