England ease past Black Caps in T20 opener
England made light work of New Zealand as they won their Twenty20 opener in a rematch of the dramatic Cricket World Cup final.
New Zealand lost a thrilling World Cup decider to England on boundary count-back in July and that heartbreaking defeat was still fresh in the memory of both sides.
However, hosts the Black Caps were unable to exact a form of revenge as England cruised to a seven-wicket victory with nine balls remaining in the opening game of a five-match series in Christchurch on Friday.
James Vince top scored with 59 but captain Eoin Morgan (34 not out) hit the winning runs – a six – to lead England to 153-3, in pursuit of New Zealand's 153-5 target.
Playing without star captain Kane Williamson due to a right hip injury, New Zealand were sent into bat by England at Hagley Park and made a slow start.
England debutant Sam Curran – in the side as the tourists rested many of their World Cup stars ahead of the Test series – struck the first blow, dismissing Martin Guptill (2) in the third over.
A perfect start to the series!!
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 1, 2019
Curran was then clubbed for three sixes within four balls by Colin Munro (21) and Tim Seifert (32) as the Black Caps duo tried to spark their team's innings.
However, Chris Jordan (2-28) removed Munro in his first over before Adil Rashid's wicket of Colin de Grandhomme (19) left New Zealand 72-3 in the 11th over.
New Zealand managed to surpass the 150-run mark on a good batting deck, but they lost wickets whenever a promising partnership threatened as Seifert and Ross Taylor (44) – who fell victim to another debutant in Pat Brown (1-33) – departed and Daryl Mitchell finished unbeaten on 30.
England were comfortable in reply as they reached 37 without loss before Dawid Malan (11) succumbed to Mitchell Santner in the sixth over.
Black Caps spinner Santner tried to stop England almost singlehandedly, having claimed all New Zealand's wickets with figures of three for 23 after sending Jonny Bairstow (35) and Vince back to the pavilion.
However, it was another successful day for England against New Zealand following the country's stunning Rugby World Cup semi-final triumph over the All Blacks in Japan last week.