Dawid Malan stakes his claim to open at Cricket World Cup by scoring a superb century as England thrash New Zealand by 100 runs in fourth and final ODI to seal a 3-1 series triumph… with Moeen Ali taking four wickets in win
- Dawid Malan completed a mightily impressive series standing-in for Jason Roy
- His superb century at Lord’s followed scores of 54 at Cardiff and 96 at the Oval
- Off-spinner Moeen Ali claimed 4-50 as New Zealand were bowled out for 211
There is still much to ponder as England contemplate the final squad for their World Cup defence but one thing is now certain – Dawid Malan will walk out to open when they begin the tournament, also against New Zealand, in Ahmedabad next month.
Malan, so often under-estimated among England’s array of power-hitters, cannot be ignored after completing a mightily impressive one-day international series standing-in for Jason Roy with a superb century in the 100-run thumping that gave them a 3-1 series win.
It followed his 54 in the opening defeat at Cardiff and the 96 in the Oval victory that bookmarked Malan’s brief absence at Southampton to be at the birth of his son.
And it means the best Roy, who was again missing with the back injury that has now ruled him out of the whole series, can hope for when England name their final squad next week is a place as the batting reserve.
That, too, remains in doubt as England will be reluctant to take a player under an injury cloud on a gruelling World Cup tour of India with so many internal flights, even one as integral to their rise to become the world’s dominant white-ball force as Roy.
Dawid Malan scored a superb century in the final ODI against New Zealand on Friday
Tim Southee suffered a broken and dislocated thumb dropping a catch off Joe Root at gully
The situation is further complicated by Harry Brook’s failure to grasp the opportunity handed to him when he was added to this squad to take on New Zealand after his controversial omission in the first place from the provisional World Cup party.
Brook was back in his middle order home for this fourth one-day international, with England resting Ben Stokes, but he could make just 10 off 15 balls to follow his two failures as a makeshift opener at the start of this series.
He is the favourite to edge out Roy when England declare their final hand – and they may add Roy to their squad for three matches against Ireland, starting at Headingley on Wednesday – but it is far from certain.
There are also concerns about two batsmen crucial to England’s hopes of successfully defending the 50-over title they won so dramatically in the last one-day international against New Zealand at Lord’s, the World Cup final four years ago.
Jonny Bairstow again looked out of form and skittish here before he was put out of his misery on 13 by Matt Henry while Joe Root again looked out of sorts in being dropped twice before being bowled for 29 by Rachin Ravindra. Both will, of course, travel but both could do with scores in England’s two warm-up games before the World Cup opener on October 5.
There are no such concerns with Malan. It seems he is perennially battling for his place, with England clearly originally banking on the tried and tested opening partnership of Bairstow and Roy to lead their charge in India.
But time and again Malan has defied the doubters and here he displayed his class in making 127 off 114 balls to dominate England’s 311 for nine on a slow Lord’s pitch far from condusive to his preference for pace.
In the process Malan passed a thousand ODI runs in just his 21st innings, with five centuries and five 50s, the same amount of knocks as the illustrious trio of Sir Viv Richards, Kevin Pietersen and Babar Azam. He really could not do any more to seal his position.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali claimed 4-50 as New Zealand were bowled out for 211
Rachin Ravindra smashed a quickfire 61 before he was bowled by Sam Curran
‘To break into the England white-ball sides you either have to be a freak or consistent,’ said player of the series Malan. ‘I’ve had to try to be as consistent as I can and put match-winning performances on the board.’
It was far too many for a New Zealand side who suffered injury after injury in the field, most seriously to Tim Southee, who dislocated and fractured his right thumb in dropping Root. The World Cup hopes of one of New Zealand’s best bowlers are hanging by a thread.
Only Ravindra excelled for New Zealand to follow his four wickets with a maiden ODI half century and launched a late assault in vain with 21 in an over off Brydon Carse.
In the absence of Adil Rashid with a sore calf Moeen Ali stepped up to the spinning plate with four wickets as New Zealand crashed to 211 for nine, with Southee unable to bat, and a comprehensive defeat.
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