NAPIER, New Zealand (AP) — Dawid Malan struck a maiden century from 48 balls in a record 182-run partnership with Eion Morgan which propelled England to a 76-run win over New Zealand in the fourth Twenty20 cricket international Friday which leveled the five-match series at 2-2.
Malan's unbeaten century was the fastest by an England batsman in a T20 international, beating by 12 balls Alex Hales' record of 60 deliveries and lifting England to 241-3, its highest score in the 20-over format.
New Zealand, never in the match, was dismissed for 165 in the 17th over.
Morgan was out in the last over for 91, ending a 182-run partnership which was the highest by an England pair in T20s and the fourth highest of all-time.
Malan finished 103 not out, extending his extraordinary record in Twenty20 internationals. The left-hander now has a century and five half centuries from nine innings and a batting average of 57.25.
Malan said Morgan launched the England batting attack "and I sort of jumped in his slipstream and tagged along a little bit.
"I got to about 80 and I thought these boundaries are so small I may as well have a crack. (Morgan) played fantastically well. The intent he showed from ball one took the pressure off me especially early on in my innings."
Tom Banton gave England a brisk beginning, hitting 31 from 20 balls after the Blakc Caps' stand-in captain, Tim Southee, made the inexplicable decision to bowl on winning the toss on the best batting wicket in New Zealand.
Malan came to the crease after the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow (8) in the fourth over and immediately took control.
He reached his half century from 31 balls, just ahead of Morgan who posted his 11th T20 50 from only 21 deliveries. But Malan was the inexorable force behind the partnership. He went on to post a second half century from only 17 deliveries and to reach a century which included nine fours and six sixes.
Malan and Morgan imposed themselves on the game first when they score 76 runs in five overs — from the 10th to the 14th overs — achieving an almost unstoppable momentum. They then helped England add 85 in the last five overs against a poor New Zealand attack. Only left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who took 2-32, emerged with any credit.
Martin Guptill and Colin Munro gave New Zealand's run chase early pace, raising a half century partnership in only 4.1 overs. But Guptill, having reached 27 from 14 balls, thrashed a delivery from Tom Curran into the leg side and found the only man within 50 meters — Malan.
Tim Seifert (3), Colin Munro (30), Colin de Grandhomme (7) and Daryl Mitchell (2) quickly followed, taking with them any hope of a New Zealand win which would have clinched the series. Spinner Matt Parkinson removed Munro, de Grandhomme and Parkinson to defuse the threat of New Zealand's big hitters and finish with 4-47.
There was no discipline in the New Zealand run chase and when Ross Taylor was out for 14 at 89-6 in the 10th over it was at an end. Southee was the top scorer with 39.
The final match of the series is at Auckland on Sunday.
More AP cricket: www.apnews.com/Cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports