England found themselves in dire straits at the start, crashing to 8 for 3 as the match was shortened to 34 overs per side due to rain. Their predicament worsened as they reached 55 for 5 in the 13th over, just as Livingstone stepped onto the crease.
However, Livingstone’s exceptional innings guided England to a total of 226 for 7. Subsequently, New Zealand struggled and were eventually dismissed for 147, making it 1-1 in the four-match series.
The damage with the ball was inflicted primarily by Reece Topley, who ended a long wait of over a year for an ODI wicket with figures of 3 for 27, and the left-arm quick David Willey, who contributed with 3 for 34.
New Zealand pacer Trent Boult marked his 100th ODI appearance after nearly a year and made a significant impact by capturing the first three England wickets – those of Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes.
Livingstone’s career-best performance in ODIs not only added strength to the team’s total but also improved his chances of securing a spot in England’s final 15-man World Cup squad. Sam Curran provided valuable support, contributing 42 runs in a crucial sixth-wicket partnership of 112 runs in just 77 balls.
“I wouldn’t quite say it was a rescue mission,” said Player-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, who previously contributed 52 runs in England’s eight-wicket loss to New Zealand at Sophia Gardens on Friday, said, “It has indeed been a frustrating year for me… The innings in Cardiff truly did wonders for my confidence.”
England captain Jos Buttler was thrilled with the victory, which brought an end to their string of three consecutive white-ball defeats to New Zealand. The Kiwis had emerged victorious in the last two matches of a closely contested 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: “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.”
In a rematch of the thrilling 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s, New Zealand encountered early setbacks in their chase, losing a wicket to only the second ball. The aggressive Finn Allen, known for his big-hitting, was bowled for a duck by David Willey.
Devon Conway, who was coming off a century in Cardiff, followed shortly, getting caught behind off the pace of Gus Atkinson after contributing 14 runs.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali then made a decisive impact, taking two wickets in just three balls. Daryl Mitchell, who had also impressed with a century in Cardiff, fell for 57 runs, leaving New Zealand teetering at 140 for 8 before Willey wrapped up the tail.
In the earlier part of the game, Boult wreaked havoc in England’s top order.
After New Zealand captain Latham won the toss on an overcast day at the Rose Bowl, Boult captured crucial wickets. He executed a superb one-handed catch, dismissing Jonny Bairstow, and two balls later, sent Joe Root back to the pavilion for a second-ball duck with an in-swinger. Remarkably, it marked Root’s fourth duck in his last 10 ODI innings.
The pressure intensified for England when Ben Stokes (1) mistimed a shot off Boult. The 34-year-old Boult managed an incredible feat, securing three wickets without conceding a run in just eight balls.
However, the partnership between Livingstone and Moeen halted the slide, as they combined for a crucial stand of 48 runs before Curran injected fresh energy into the innings.
The series will continue at the Oval on Wednesday with the penultimate ODI of the series.
(With agency inputs)