James Vince hit a maiden half-century starring in England’s comfortable seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the series opening T20I in Christchurch on Thursday. After keeping their hosts to 153/5, England chased down the target in 18.3 overs with Vince scoring 59 off 38.
England opted to field and included three debutants – Sam Curran, Lewis Gregory and Patrick Brown – in their playing XIs. The Curran brothers – Sam and Tom – didn’t allow New Zealand a freehand in the Powerplay overs, keeping them to 15/1 in four overs. However, Colin Munro and Tim Seifert negated the early pressure by belting 21 runs off the fifth over, bowled by Sam before Chris Jordan handed England a second success with the final delivery of the sixth over.
Runs weren’t easy to score on a sluggish Hagley Oval surface and New Zealand were able to post a competitive score thanks to Ross Taylor (44) and Daryl Mitchell (30*), who added 56 runs for the sixth wicket. Jordan was England’s pick of the bowlers, taking 2/28 from his four overs.
England’s chase began on a quiet note with the first two overs fetching them just two runs – one off them via an extra.
Jonny Bairstow made up for it in the third over, clubbing three fours and a six off Scott Kuggelejin.
Let-arm spinner Mitchell Santner (3/23) got New Zealand their first breakthrough in the final over of the Powerplay when he had Dawid Malan caught at third man for 11. Bairstow also fell to Santner after scoring 35 but Vince, who walked in at No. 3, looked in good touch. He struck seven fours and two sixes in his 38-ball stay but his departure in the 16th over, he also fell to Santner, gave New Zealand flickering hope.
England captain Eoin Morgan put those hopes to rest combining with Sam Billings (11*) to see his team through, scoring an unbeaten 34 off 21, sealing the win with a six off his counterpart Tim Southee.
Brief Scores: England 154/3 (James Vince 59, Eoin Morgan 34*; Mitchell Santner 3/23) beat New Zealand 153/5 (Ross Taylor 44, Tim Seifert 32; Chris Jordan 2/28)