It seemed all too easy for England in the first game. It was the start of a fresh series, a fresh season and despite being short of some regular all-format players, England breezed past New Zealand with ease. They executed each plan near perfectly.
Be it with the ball in the first innings or with the bat during their chase, England hardly looked in trouble. The bowling unit fired collectively. The Curran brothers, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and debutant Pat Brown executed their plans really well and restricted the explosive Kiwis top order brilliantly.
Meanwhile, James Vince struck a fluent half-century and some decent contributions on either side of him helped the visitors hunt an under-par total of 154.
New Zealand batsmen struggled to get going. They just couldn’t find the boundaries. In fact, they scored just seven fours and as many sixes in that first game. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have failed to fire at the top. Their individual form has been scratchy and even as a pair, they haven’t fired at all. Tim Siefert and Colin de Grandhomme couldn’t force the pace either. On the bowling front, it was Mitchell Santner who picked up all three England wickets to fall.
Scott Kuggeleijn was expensive and might be swapped with Blair Tickner. England might continue with the same team and may not want to tinker the combination early in the series. They will most likely test out a few combinations as the series progresses.
Sam and Tom Curran were excellent at the start of the innings. They gave nothing away with in the powerplay and tied down both Munro and Guptill. Both openers couldn’t get going and eventually, fell prey to the increasing pressure. Hence, the battle between the Kiwi openers and the England new ball openers will be an intriguing one.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Tim Seifert (wk), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn/Black Tickner, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee (c), Ish Sodhi
England: Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, James Vince, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings (wk), Dawid Malan, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Patrick Brown
New Zealand return to a venue where they’ve tasted quite a bit of success in the last few years in T20I cricket. England were the last team to beat New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington in a T20I and that was back in February 2013. Since then, New Zealand have won all their five games at this venue. Hence, that should give them some confidence after thrashing they got in the first T20I. However, England will be confident with the way they started this tour. All their plans came good but they will be looking to breach what looks like a mini-fortress of sorts for New Zealand. But it looks like they will start as favourites going into the second game.
Will be updated soon.