Joe Root’s 68 off 46 balls inspired England to a thumping 56-run victory over New Zealand in the Twenty20 International, at Old Trafford.
Root plundered his second fifty in 10 T20 internationals off 36 balls to propel the home side, fresh from their 3-2 ODI series victory over the Black Caps, to 191-7.
New Zealand made a spectacular start to their chase as Brendon McCullum blazed 35 off just 15 balls before Kane Williamson continued his fine form by striking 57 off 37 balls.
But when he was run out by David Willey’s direct hit, the innings subsided – the tourists slumped to 135 all out off 16.2 overs as the last five wickets fell for four runs in 11 deliveries.
Earlier, England skipper Eoin Morgan had no hesitation in batting first – the home side retaining the same XI that clinched that spectacular ODI success on Saturday, meaning Sam Billings, David Willey and Mark Wood earned their T20 debuts.
Jason Roy (23 off 13) got the innings motoring with a brace of sixes off Mitchell McClenaghan’s first over, the second of the innings, recording his first double-figure score in T20 cricket this year.
The Surrey opener dominated an opening stand of 25 before Alex Hales (27 off 23) called him for a quick single into the covers and was beaten by Kane Williamson’s sharp throw.
Root took up the mantle, driving Tim Southee down the ground for six and dabbing the same bowler for four in his following over with a superb piece of improvisation.
From 76-1 England rather lost their way – two wickets falling for three runs as Mitchell Santner tempted Hales into a rash slog and produced a beauty to bowl Jonny Bairstow, the Yorkshireman falling for a duck just days after his unbeaten 83 saw England to that ODI series victory.
New Zealand’s fightback continued as Eoin Morgan flicked Matt Henry to deep square leg but Root remained unmoved, reaching his fifty with a pulled four off Nathan McCullum.
The spinner conceded 23 off his final over – Sam Billings (21 off 11) cracking two fours and a six off three balls in an entertaining cameo that ended when he top-edged McClenaghan’s slower-ball bouncer behind.
Root remained unmoved, reverse-scooping an attempted yorker from Southee for four before he was undone by a clever piece of bowling from McClenaghan, upper cutting a slower ball from Mitchell McClenaghan to deep point after striking eight fours and one six.
Ben Stokes (24no) ensured England’s innings finished with a flurry but New Zealand’s reply started in even more spectacular fashion, Martin Guptill carving Willey’s first ball for four before losing his leg stump to the left-armer.
McCullum (35 off 15) smashed his first ball over mid-off for four and struck four sixes off his next eight deliveries, including two in a row off Wood. The Durham seamer swiftly struck back with a full low toss that McCullum, backing to leg, edged into his stumps.
Ross Taylor enjoyed a life on 18 when Bairstow shelled a regulation edge behind off the bowling of Stokes but the reprieve, Adil Rashid inducing a skied catch.
Colin Munro bowled second ball by Stokes – the ball splintering the top of off stump – and five balls later Luke Ronchi ramped the Durham seamer into Bairstow’s gloves.
Williamson – man-of-the-series in the ODIs – continued his fine run of form by reaching his second fifty in 22 T20 internationals off just 31 balls, but after he failed to beat Willey’s throw the Black Caps’ innings quickly folded.
Watch highlights of England against New Zealand in the T20 international at midnight on Sky Sports 2.