England crushed New Zealand by 100 runs in the fourth one-day international on Friday to seal a morale-boosting 3-1 series victory ahead of their World Cup title defence. Jos Buttler’s power-packed team were indebted to opener Dawid Malan, who made a sparkling 127 off 114 balls in a total of 311-9 from 50 overs at a sun-drenched Lord’s. New Zealand, dramatically beaten by England in the 2019 World Cup final on the same ground, struggled badly in their run chase, slumping to 211 all out in 38.2 overs.
Both sides were missing a clutch of first-choice players for what served as a dress rehearsal for the opening match of the World Cup in Ahmedabad on October 5.
Buttler believes his side are well-placed to defend their 50-over title in India.
“I think we have got better and better throughout this series in the style of play and got the results as well,” he said.
“Dawid Malan has played fantastically well — every time he gets an opportunity he makes his mark. It was a fantastic hundred. He read the game very well and put bowlers under pressure.
“I think we are well-positioned ahead of the World Cup. We are not trying to defend anything. We are going to try to win a World Cup like everyone else.”
England’s total appeared within range but Buttler brilliantly ran out Devon Conway with a direct hit before David Willey had Will Young caught behind for 24.
The visitors were reduced to 52-3 when Daryl Mitchell was bowled by paceman Brydon Carse with his third ball.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali, who finished with 4-50, took the wickets of Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls to reduce New Zealand to 122-5.
Ali turned the screw, dismissing Kyle Jamieson and Matt Henry in successive balls to leave the Black Caps teetering on 169-8.
All-rounder Rachin Ravindra entertained with some lusty blows, but his dismissal for 61 off 48 balls, bowled by Sam Curran, signalled the end of the innings, with the injured Tim Southee unable to bat.
New Zealand skipper Latham said his side would have to improve to end England’s reign as world champions.
“When you get to a World Cup it is slightly different,” he said. “It is who turns up on the day. It has shown us areas we need to improve and it is good to come up against a quality side.”
Earlier, player-of-the-series Malan anchored England’s innings after they won the toss, making the most of his opportunity at the top of the order in the continued absence of the injured Jason Roy.
New Zealand paceman Southee injured his thumb in dropping Joe Root.
A New Zealand team spokesman later confirmed that Southee had dislocated and fractured a bone in his right thumb, putting his World Cup participation in doubt.
Harry Brook, not in England’s provisional World Cup squad, failed to make the most of his chance to fill in for the rested Ben Stokes, departing for 10 to give Ravindra a second wicket.
Malan, who scored 96 in the third ODI, reached his three figures in the 32nd over with a whipped shot for two on the leg side.
But Buttler soon departed in tame fashion, caught at mid-off for 36, reducing England to 195-4 and slowing their momentum.
Malan eventually fell for 127, caught behind off a wide delivery from Ravindra, who finished with four wickets.
Wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals, but Liam Livingstone (28), Sam Curran (20) and Willey (19) all chipped in as England moved past 300.
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