Christchurch: The first T20I between New Zealand and England was highly anticipated since it was the first clash between the two teams since that dramatic World Cup 2019 final, but the match did not live up to the hype.
England outplayed New Zealand, chasing down the modest total of 154 with nine balls to spare, to register a comprehensive seven-wicket victory.
The Hagley Oval pitch and short boundaries promised a high-scoring affair but a dismal show by New Zealand's batsmen resulted in a one-sided affair.
Playing his ninth T20I, James Vince scored his maiden half-century in the format. When he came in to bat in the last over of the powerplay, England needed a partnership and keep the required run rate in check.
The No.3 batsman capitalised on bad deliveries hitting them for boundaries (he hit seven fours and two sixes) and rotated the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking.
The 28-year-old reached his half-century from 33 deliveries. He was finally dismissed in the 16th over, but had taken the team to the brink of victory.
Debutants Sam Curran and Patrick Brown had a successful outing on a high-scoring ground. Curran gave just six runs in his first two overs after opening the bowling for England with his brother Tom. Curran went for runs in his third over, but finished with 33 for one wicket in four overs. The lone wicket was that of opener Martin Guptill.
Brown was given the responsibility of bowling in the middle and death overs. The 21-year-old gave 33 runs and took the wicket of Ross Taylor in the final over of the innings.
The Worcestershire bowler was good with his variations at the back end of the innings, not letting Kiwi batsmen get to a big total.
The batting woes of the Kiwis shows no signs of ending. Openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill failed again.
Munro was looking good despite playing out a maiden over. The left-handed batsman made up for the dot deliveries, but then got out to Chris Jordan just when he looked settled.
Kiwi batsmen Tim Seifert and Grandhomme got starts but could not convert them into scores that mattered. In the absence of Kane Williamson, the hosts' batting lineup is clearly struggling.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner was the only successful bowler for the hosts. Santner kept the pressure on English batsmen and got three wickets for 23 runs in his four overs. The 27-year-old spinner kept New Zealand in the game till the last over of his spell even as other bowlers struggled to keep the pressure on.
Tim Southee stuck with a five-bowler strategy, which didn't work since two of his bowlers had a particularly bad day on the field.
Scott Kuggeleijn went for 18 runs in his first over. Ish Sodhi did not look his best and his variations were easily picked by the English batsmen.
Southee did not give the ball to all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme or Daryl Mitchell, despite the fact that the two bowlers' variations might have helped since the English batsmen like the ball coming on the bat. Two overs from Grandhomme might have kept New Zealand in the game a little longer.