England fall to warm-up defeat as Colin Munro blazes unbeaten ton


New Zealand A 191 for 2 (Munro 107*, Kitchen 48*) beat England 188 for 5 (Vince 46, Verma 3-46) by eight wickets

England suffered a setback in their preparations for the T20I series in New Zealand, as Colin Munro‘s 54-ball hundred condemned the tourists to an eight-wicket defeat in Lincoln.

Munro finished unbeaten on 107 as New Zealand A closed out their chase with more than an over to spare, Anaru Kitchen keeping the opener company during a stand worth 138 in 66 balls. Only Tom Curran and Matt Parkinson – who saw both Munro and Kitchen put down off his bowling – went at fewer than 10 runs an over among the England attack.

“He came out and played a brilliant knock, we know what a quality player Colin Munro is,” Sam Billings, England’s vice-captain, said. “Bit of cobwebs as well, I think, with a few plans and people finding their feet probably, but as long as we rectify that going into the first game, I think we’ll be fine.”

Having elected to bat, England struggled to get going in their innings, losing Tom Banton and Dawid Malan inside the Powerplay. For the second match running, Banton only managed to face a handful of balls before perishing trying to hit over the top, while Malan, opening in place of Jonny Bairstow, flashed behind after hitting two early boundaries.

James Vince helped steady things, adding a fifty stand in company with the captain, Eoin Morgan. Vince made 46 from 32 to top score for England, but when he and Morgan fell to successive deliveries from Anurag Verma, England had to rebuild at just past the halfway point.

Another solid stand ensued between Joe Denly and Billings, with 64 runs added in 7.2 overs. Denly was the more aggressive of the two as he looked to make an impression at No. 5, and Lewis Gregory then marked his first appearance in an England shirt by slamming 29 from 11, with two fours and two sixes, to lift England further.

The target, however, soon proved insubstantial as Munro began peppering the boundaries at Bert Sutcliffe Oval. Although Saqib Mahmood removed Tim Seifert in the Powerplay, and Parkinson struck with his third ball to leave New Zealand A 53 for 2, Munro and Kitchen cut lose.

Munro, who is in New Zealand’s squad for the five T20Is starting in Christchurch on Friday, cracked nine fours and seven sixes to see his side home, although he survived a close lbw appeal against Parkinson on 26 and was later dropped off the same bowler five runs short of his century.

Kitchen was also put down when he had made just 17, as England suffered an underwhelming day in the field. Seamers Mahmood, Gregory and Pat Brown all proved expensive, as did Denly’s part-time legspin, and Munro finished the game in emphatic style by hitting Mahmood back over his head for the final six of the afternoon.

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