A maiden half century from James Vince powered England to a convincing seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the opening Twenty20 international in Christchurch on Friday.
Vince top-scored for the tourists with 59 as England chased down New Zealand’s 154-run target in 18.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
While Vince’s player-of-the-match performance caught the eye, captain Eoin Morgan was also full of praise for his bowlers, who laid the platform for victory by restricting the Black Caps to 153 for five.
“The game was won and lost in the first innings... James Vince played outstanding well but all credit to the bowlers today,” he said.
A three-wicket haul from spinner Mitchell Santner was not enough to rescue the Black Caps, whose batting line-up failed to fire after Morgan won the toss and sent them in.
England’s win came despite the absence of several senior players, who have been rested for the series after a gruelling period that saw them win the World Cup and fail to reclaim the Ashes.
A trio of debutants in the team facing New Zealand fitted in seamlessly, with Sam Curran and Pat Brown both snaring a wicket each.
Morgan said his squad was building its depth by blooding youngsters ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
“It’s a chance for them to stake their claim,” said the England captain, who emphatically ended the match with a six off the final ball to finish on 34 not out.
SCORES IN BRIEF
NEW ZEALAND: 153 for 5 in 20 overs (Munro 21, Siefert 32, Taylor 44, Mitchell 30 not out; Jordan 2-28)
ENGLAND: 154 for 3 in 18.3 overs (Bairstow 35, Vince 59, Morgan 34 not out; Ferguson 2-28, Santner 3-23)
Result: England won by seven wickets.
Player-of-the-match: James Vince.