England are a win away from beating New Zealand in the four-match ODI series after coming from behind to make it 2-1 in spectacular style.
Ben Stokes, who joked after the third match that he felt “a bit sour” over missing golf’s PGA Championship to come out of ODI retirement, made a spectacular 50-over comeback by hitting 182 runs off 124 balls – a record in the format for an Englishman.
The hosts finished on 368 at The Oval, then bowled New Zealand out for 187 to complete a comprehensive victory that turned all the attention on Stokes.
Dawid Malan’s 96 off 95 deliveries would have been the batting highlight on most other occasions, while Chris Woakes and Liam Livingstone took three wickets each and Reece Topley claimed two as England impressed again.
BETTING SPECIALS FOR FOURTH ODI: Compare latest UK offers and promos at BetOnSports
Reeling from a record England ODI partnership against them — Stokes and Malan put on 199 for the third wicket — New Zealand now know that anything other than victory will be fatal for their own hopes of overturning a deficit when the fourth test begins at Lord’s on Friday.
“We were thoroughly outplayed – but we have a big opportunity to level the series at Lord’s,” said New Zealand captain Tom Latham, speaking after Glenn Phillips top-scored for his side with 72. “Stokes and Dawid were fantastic. We tried to change things up but they countered everything.”
England vs. New Zealand fourth cricket ODI prediction, odds
Unsurprisingly, England are heavily favoured by bookmakers to clinch the series with a third successive win against the visitors.
They’re 4/9 with BetOnSports, with Malan and Joe Root considered likeliest to be the leading batsmen, at 4/1, while Devon Conway is the favourite to be New Zealand’s highest scorer, at 3/1.
Those longer individual prices might appeal in combination with an England victory for gamblers dissuaded by how short they are to triumph this time.
New Zealand are 7/4 to level the series and there are some enticing boosted prices available, including 10/1 for Conway to be named Player of the Match, with Jonny Bairstow available at 9/1 to take the honours.
Conway has only posted 23 runs since, but he finished on 111 not out in the first match between the teams and is 5/6 to score more than 30 here. Malan scored 54 in his other appearance in the series, in Cardiff, and is the same odds as Conway to surpass 30 or 13/8 to go beyond 50.
Trent Boult’s eight wickets are the best of anyone in the series, making his odds an obvious attraction. The veteran left-arm seamer is 9/2 to be the top match bowler, 9/4 to lead the way for his team and 10/1 to be Player of the Match.
TSN’s prediction: England win (4/9 on BetOnSports)
TSN’s best bet: Dawid Malan highest run scorer (4/1 on BetOnSports)