England captain Alastair Cook was disappointed to lose the first ODI against New Zealand, after looking on track to win a few times, and admitted some of the players may have been a bit 'rusty' after a long break.
England lost by three wickets as Brendon McCullum and MArtin Guptill made sure to reach the 259 required with more than an over to spare. While returning batsmen like Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott scored half centuries, the rested bowlers, like Graeme Swann and James Anderson, didn't particularly shine.
England hadn't played an ODI since December last year, and Cook, who only made four runs himself, admitted he and some other lads weren't quite up to par, despite insisting they would be before the game.
Cook said: "You always are a little bit rusty when you haven't had a practice match or a training session as a side. But it was more match hardness which we were missing a little bit today. We got ourselves in position to win.
"We just kept losing wickets at crucial times and never really got the partnership towards the end of the innings which could have got us up to 280 or 290.
"We batted well up front, but probably loaded a little bit too much towards the end - put a bit too much pressure on our big hitters. I think both sides would have felt disappointed losing that game.
"Both sides got themselves in position to win and someone had to stand up and grab it by the scruff of the neck - and those two did it for New Zealand."
McCullum was pleased for Guptill, who had been on a lean run in recent weeks, and although he only made 27 not out, the skipper felt he would have done much more if given the chance, as he was a fighter by nature.
McCullum said: "To see Martin coming out and being able to strike the way he did was fantastic. I thought we showed some fighting characteristics. It's a really important trait for us that we do keep scrapping like that."
The second ODI will be played in Napier on 20 February.