New Zealand 179 for 5 (Neesham 48*, Conway 41, Thomas 2-23) beat West Indies 180 for 7 (Pollard 75*, Fletcher 34, Ferguson 5-21, Southee 2-22) by 5 wickets (DLS method)
Auckland: Jimmy Neesham's scintillating performance with bat and a gutsy cameo by Mitchell Santner overshadowed Kieron Pollard's heroics to hand New Zealand an enthralling 5-wicket win (D/L Method) in the first T20I here at Eden Park on Friday.
Neesham, who went for 32 runs in 1.3 overs, made up for his bowling by smashing 48 runs off just 24 balls. On the other hand, Santner whacked three sixes in his cameo to hand New Zealand the win. He hit the winning run with a six over deep mid-wicket
Chasing 181 runs, New Zealand got off to the worst possible start as Martin Guptil made a walk back in the very first over. Tim Seifert looked steady in the chase but his stint was ended by Oshane Thomas in the fourth over, meaning not the ideal start New Zealand wanted.
Glenn Phillips, who came in at number four took on the bowlers and hammered Fabian Allen for three sixes in the fifth over. Just when it looked good for New Zealand, Thomas dismissed Phillips to dent the home team's chances.
Ross Taylor's wicket in the next over added insult to injury as the target became a distant dream for the Kiwis. However, much to West Indies' dismay, Neesham and Devon Conway then added 75 runs in just 33 balls to put New Zealand back on top.
Earlier after being put in, West Indies got off to a flyer, smashing 55 runs in the first three overs before rain interrupted proceedings for the second time.
However, Pollard's side lost its way as Lockie Ferguson struck twice in an over, and then Tim Southee replicated his deputy's heroics as West Indies suffered a middle-order collapse.
The side lost five wickets for just four runs as Ferguson trapped Nicholas Pooran plumb in front to pick his third wicket in the match.
Skipper Pollard and Fabian Allen then rebuilt the Windies innings as the duo played cautiously before accelerating in the death overs. The game was reduced to a 16-over affair due to rain and Pollard saw it as a perfect opportunity to free his arms. The all-rounder bludgeoned the Kiwi bowling attack and whacked three glorious sixes of Neesham's over.
Meanwhile, Allen played the role of second fiddle and assisted Pollard in building an 84-run stand for the sixth wicket. The Windies skipper again took on Neesham and smashed 23 runs in the final over as West Indies scored 180/7.
For New Zealand, Ferguson was the pick of the bowlers as he registered his first-ever five-wicket haul in the shortest format of the game. He was named Player of the Match.