It was a brilliant performance by hosts New Zealand as they won the opening ODI against England by 3 wickets to go 1-0 lead in the 5-match series. The victory was largely built around a sensational century from Ross Taylor. Mitchell Santner also played a match-winning knock of 45 to take the hosts past the finishing line. Earlier in the day, England managed to score 284/8 in their allotted 20 overs.
It was New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson who won the toss and put the visitors in. Openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow receded out in the middle to start off proceedings. The visitors lost an early wicket in the form of Bairstow. However, Joe Root and Jason Roy started resurrecting the innings with some resolute strokeplay.
The duo shared a 79 runs partnership before Roy was castled by left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner castled Roy with a great delivery. Captain Eoin Morgan was dismissed early as leg-spinner Ish Sodhi bagged his prized wicket. However, Joe Root was still at the crease. Comeback man Ben Stokes struck a boundary en route to 12. But he couldn’t quite carry on and was dismissed by Santner.
In the end, it was whirlwind innings from the blade of Jos Buttler which propelled England to a score of 284/8 in their allotted 50 overs. He was eventually run out by Tim Southee on 79 which came in just 65 deliveries. The innings was studded with 5 fours and as many sixes. Moeen Ali also played a breezy innings of 28 which came in just 26 deliveries.
While chasing the competitive total, the hosts lost three quick wickets which reduced them to 27/3. While Chris Woakes bagged the wickets of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro. It was left-arm pacer David Willey who pocketed the wicket of Kane Williamson. However from there on it was an excellent partnership between Ross Taylor and Tom Latham which took New Zealand towards the safety zone.
The duo shared 178 runs between them as New Zealand were coasting towards victory. Both partners executed some terrific shots to perfection. Latham scored a half-century while Ross Taylor raced to his 18th ODI hundred. It was Ben Stokes who provided England the much-needed breakthrough in the form of Latham’s wicket.
The hosts lost two more wickets in quick succession in the form of Henry Nicholls and Colin de Granhomme wickets. After making a sensational century Ross Taylor feel prey to leg-spinner Adil Rashid, The leggie tossed up the delivery pretty nicely and Taylor stepped out of the crease to hit it over the boundary ropes. It was a relatively easy stumping for Buttler stationed behind the wickets.
Despite his wickets, Mitchell Santner was not ready to surrender the match yet. He took it upon himself to take charge of proceedings. The southpaw struck consecutive sixes of Adil Rashid in the 18th over to tilt the scales in favour of the Kiwis.
England 284/8 in 50 overs (Jos Buttler 79, Joe Root 71, Mitchell Santner 2/54)
New Zealand 287/7 in 49.2 overs (Ross Taylor 113, Tom Latham 79 Mitchell Santner 45*, Chris Woakes 2/47)
New Zealand won by 3 wickets (with 4 deliveries to spare)