Liam Livingstone’s unbeaten 95 powered England to a 79-run win over New Zealand in the second one-day international in Southampton on Sunday. England, who begin the defence of their World Cup title against New Zealand in Ahmedabad on October 5, collapsed to 8-3 in a match reduced by rain to 34 overs per side. They were still struggling at 55-5 in the 13th over when Livingstone came into bat. But he took England to 226-7 and New Zealand were then dismissed for 147 as the hosts levelled the four-match series at 1-1 Reece Topley, whose 3-27 ended a wait of over a year for an ODI wicket, and fellow left-arm quick David Willey (3-34) did the damage with the ball.
New Zealand great Trent Boult had marked his 100th ODI — and first in nearly a year — by taking the first three England wickets wickets to fall, the veteran left-arm quick removing Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes.
But Livingstone’s career-best ODI innings, a tribute to his composure as much as his celebrated hitting power, bolstered the total and enhanced his prospects of selection for England’s final 15-man World Cup squad.
Sam Curran (42) offered fellow all-rounder Livingstone excellent support in a sixth-wicket stand of 112 in 77 balls.
“I wouldn’t quite say it was a rescue mission,” said man-of-the-match Livingstone.
“We pride ourselves on depth in our batting and getting out of situations like today. I thought Sammy (Curran) batted really well.”
Livingstone, whose 52 was a rare England highlight during their comprehensive eight-wicket defeat by New Zealand at Sophia Gardens on Friday, added: “It has been a frustrating year for me…The innings at Cardiff did myself the world of good.”
England captain Jos Buttler was elated after a victory that ended a run of three straight white-ball losses to New Zealand, who won the last two matches of a drawn Twenty20 series.
“From the position we found ourselves in to post a score was credit to the way we wanted to play,” he said. “The partnership between Livingstone and Curran was fantastic.”
New Zealand skipper Tom Latham added: “I think we’re disappointed, we started outstandingly with Trent Boult back in the mix…Setting a score is probably harder (in a 34-over match) than knowing what was needed to do. It was a great innings from Liam Livingstone, credit to him.”
New Zealand, defeated by England in a dramatic 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s, lost a wicket to the second ball of their chase when the big-hitting Finn Allen was bowled for a duck by Willey.
Devon Conway, fresh from a hundred in Cardiff, was then caught behind off fast bowler Gus Atkinson for 14.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali then struck twice in three balls, with Daryl Mitchell — who also made a Cardiff century — falling for 57 to leave New Zealand on the brink at 140-8 before Willey polished off the tail.
Earlier, Boult ripped through England’s top order after Latham won the toss at a then overcast Rose Bowl.
Boult had Bairstow superbly caught one-handed by Mitchell Santner at cover and, two balls later, dismissed Root for a second-ball nought with an inswinger. It was Root’s fourth duck in his last 10 ODI innings.
England were three down when Stokes (one) miscued Boult. The 34-year-old Boult had taken a remarkable three wickets for no runs in eight balls.
But Livingstone and Moeen stopped the rot during a stand of 48 before Curran added fresh impetus.
Livingstone demonstrated his game awareness by not hitting a six until 73 balls into his innings when he pulled paceman Matt Henry.
The series continues at the Oval on Wednesday.
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