New Zealand won an absorbing opening ODI against England by three wickets at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday largely thanks to centurion Ross Taylor and the allround efforts of Mitchell Santner.
The Black Caps won the toss and inserted England to bat knowing that the surface could prove tricky to read for the aggressive English.
Early on Trent Boult’s swing troubled Jonny Bairstow (4) and he would depart fending at one outside off to leave England 10/1.
Jason Roy was then joined by number three Joe Root with Alex Hales left out of the XI to accommodate the returning Ben Stokes.
Roy (49) and Root put on 79 for the second wicket and looked to have set England up nicely but the former’s departure, bowled by Santner, sparked a mini-collapse.
Skipper Eoin Morgan (8) and Ben Stokes (12) departed cheaply but Root and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler stopped the bleeding with a 42 run partnership.
Root was eventually castled by part-timer Colin Munro for 71 but Buttler would go on to help England to a competitive score.
Buttler hit 79 supported by contributions from Moeen Ali (28), Chirs Woakes (11) and David Willey (11*). Buttler was run out of the penultimate ball of England’s innings. England posted 284/8 in their fifty overs.
Santner’s 2/54 made him the pick of the bowlers for the Black Caps.
In reply New Zealand staring down a target of 285 to win needed a big contribution from one of their top batsmen and when they were reduced to 27 for 3 losing explosive openers Munro (6) and Guptill (13) to Woakes and Kane Williamson to Willey, Taylor stepped up.
Along with Tom Latham, Taylor wrestled control of the game away from England with a 178 run partnership.
When Latham (79) became Stokes first victim since his return to international cricket New Zealand were 205/4 with the Kiwis still well placed to overhaul the target.
However when Henry Nicholls (0) and Colin de Grandhomme (2) were sent back to the hut the Black Caps were reeling on 215 for 6.
It was time for a star turn for the underrated Santner, he played a gem of a knock, seeing Ross Taylor (113) past his hundred and eventually getting the hosts over the line when the top order man fell with the end in sight.
Santner (45*) would finish the game off with four balls to spare but it was tense nonetheless.
New Zealand lead the five match series 1-0.