ENGLAND captain Stuart Broad blamed himself twice over for his team’s 55-run defeat against New Zealand.
Broad’s opposite number Brendon McCullum was the obvious match-winner, as the hosts levelled the Twenty20 series with one to play, hitting 74 from just 38 balls in New Zealand’s 192 for six.
There were other significant performances in the home win as Mitchell McClenaghan took two important early wickets to undermine England’s attempt at their highest-ever run chase in this format.
Ian Butler marked his first Twenty20 international in more than two years with figures of two for nine and then James Franklin grabbed four for 15 late on.
Jos Buttler (54) continued his fine form with a half-century from only 28 balls for England, but could only narrow the margin of defeat.
Broad followed his careerbest four for 24 in Saturday’s opening win in Auckland with his worst of none for 53 here.
He conceded 22 runs, largely to McCullum, in his final over and acknowledged afterwards that his own bowling was not up to scratch yesterday – and that he regretted his decision to put New Zealand in.
“We got certain parts of the game wrong tonight, and in such a short format you can’t afford to do that.
“‘Baz’ [McCullum] played fantastically well – anyone who can get 70 odd off 30 balls has played a fantastic knock.
‘‘After 15 or 16 overs, I thought we were really in the game. But I got it slightly wrong at the end – and it was always going to be a tough ask.’’ England ended up 137 all out, despite Buttler’s best efforts, after stumbling to nine for two and then 80 for seven.
‘‘We needed to keep wickets intact,’’ said the captain.
‘‘But we didn’t do that – and as soon as we lost three in the first six overs, we were struggling.’’ McCullum admitted he too would have put the opposition in, had he won the toss.
But Broad added: ‘‘I made the wrong decision at the toss to bowl.
‘‘The dew did change the wicket quite a bit, and the ball swung.
‘‘The guys said it came off the wicket a bit two-paced as well. New Zealand just bowled length, and that’s all they had to do.
‘‘We didn’t adapt to the conditions as well as we could have done.
“On such a small ground, we thought it would be hard to defend virtually anything.
But New Zealand took early wickets – and as soon as you do that, you have a hold of the game.”
Buttler’s late hitting was merely an example to Broad of what might have been, had England restricted New Zealand to slightly fewer and then not got off to such a poor start in reply.
“We bowled pretty similar lengths to Eden Park, but New Zealand probably were expecting that a bit more.
“They had a little bit of luck as well, with top-edges for six, but that can happen.
“We just weren’t as clinical with the execution of our plans, and New Zealand were.
“Jos proved that if we had kept wickets in the hand he could have been dangerous at the end.
“He’s a wonderful striker of the ball. He’s had a really good tour so far, and the way he can hit the ball 360 degrees is pretty frightening.
“He’s going to be a very exciting player for us.”
Buttler’s success appeared to persuade McCullum that England’s biggest problem was not bowling first but losing wickets so quickly in their reply. ‘‘We were going to bowl as well,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s one of those pitches that does get better, and we saw towards the end as well that if you do manage to have wickets in hand you can access those boundaries quite easily.
‘‘We knew (from the start) that, whatever score we had, we were going to have to get early wickets in that second innings.’’ They did, of course, putting the onus on England to regroup in time for the series decider in Wellington.
‘‘We hope we can pull ourselves together, review this game and get ourselves back on track for Friday,’’ said Broad.
‘‘This was pretty much a role reversal from Saturday, but that can happen in the shorter game.
‘‘We just need to get our standards right on Friday.”