England skipper Eoin Morgan has credited his spinner for pulling off a nerve-wrecking 4-run victory in the third one-day internationals against New Zealand at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on Saturday (March 3).
While chasing a modest target of 235, the Kiwis were comfortably placed at 80/1 in 17.2 overs. However, the spin twins – Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have a different plan in mind as they claimed 5 wickets between them in just 42 balls to reduce the Black Caps to 103 for 6.
"New Zealand started well, (Colin) Munro and Kane got a partnership going but they never got away from us... then the spinners came on and turned the game on the head which was nice. They did a fantastic job. When a lot is expected of you, to have the ability to change the momentum or turn the game on its head, I thought they dealt with that really well," Morgan quoted in the post-match press conference.
Despite the collapse, New Zealand were never out of the game as their captain Kane Williamson notched up a masterful hundred (112* off 143 balls). Williamson shared a 96-run stand with Mitchell Santner to put the hosts on a driving seat by the end of 45th over. However, Santner’s unfortunate run-out two balls later shifted the momentum towards England.
"You earn a little bit of luck along the way, but Woakesy was trying to catch the ball and it's a really unlucky way to get out," Morgan acknowledged.
The England captain also admitted that he thought New Zealand would win the game when the duo was batting.
"Particularly some of the shots they were playing. Crunching it hard, along the ground, they played really well. It was an outstanding knock from Kane supported by Santner," he added.
Given the nature of pitches in limited-overs cricket all around the world, the Wellington ODI wicket came as a surprise to many. The strip was slow and low, offering a great deal of assistance to the spinners throughout the match. Besides Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, Kiwi leg-spinner Ish Sodhi also claimed 3 wickets in the match.
Morgan concluded by crediting his players for playing good cricket on a kind of surface which has been unfamiliar to them for quite some time in limited overs cricket.
"We're not known as a side who wins in (those conditions). Fighting our way to a competitive total - it was probably quite fortunate that me and Ben (Stokes) had the partnership the other day and were in a good headspace to compare wickets and make a call that it wasn't a 270 wicket. The way we were going we thought if we played really well we might get 250, but I thought we were always in the game,” Eoin Morgan signed-off.