Win builds NZ excitement for CT - McCullum
Brendon McCullum said that excitement was building as to what New Zealand could achieve over the next few weeks of one-day cricket after his team took an early lead in the three-match series against England to mark the ideal start to final preparations for the Champions Trophy.
An impressive all-round performance from the bowlers, led again by Tim Southee, restricted England to 227 for 9 and despite losing two wickets in the first over of the chase New Zealand, through an unbeaten hundred by Martin Guptill, eased home with 19 balls to spare.
McCullum conceded there were more than a few nervous moments when James Anderson found the edges of Luke Ronchi and Kane Williamson within his first five deliveries but, unlike the Tests where they were rarely able to establish a significant foothold with the bat, this time Guptill and Ross Taylor combined to add 120 to put the chase on course.
"At 1 for 2, I wasn't thinking the top order was firing but Martin and Ross put together a brilliant partnership and showed that under tough circumstances we've got players with a wealth of experience we can call on," McCullum said.
"There's a little bit of excitement. It's difficult because you don't want to take your eye off what's directly in front of you. We've got most bases covered as a team... if we can build up some momentum, who knows where we can get to in the Champions Trophy."
Although New Zealand's current ODI ranking of No. 8 indicates that, like Test cricket, it has not been a profitable format for them in recent times, they retain a much stronger belief in the shorter formats.
"As I said before the series it's important to separate the forms of the game," McCullum said. "We have a very experienced one-day unit. We saw that today with Ross and Martin, they were able to assess the situation and counter-punch."
However, it was not a day without concerns for New Zealand. Daniel Vettori, who had been lined up for his first international in eight months, was ruled out shortly before the toss after his Achilles problem flared up. It followed a similar reaction after he had trained with the squad in the build-up to the Headingley Test and it now looks far from certain that he will be available for the Champions Trophy. New Zealand have already lost Andrew Ellis and Trent Boult from their original squad.
"I'm a bit worried about it," McCullum admitted. "I'm always a bit worried when 270 games pulls up injured. But we have to work what is best for Dan and what is best for the team. We'll assess it in the coming days."
In Vettori's absence McCullum's brother, Nathan, played a vital role with his offspin as he snared the key wickets of Joe Root and Jonathan Trott who had established for England a foundation with a third-wicket stand of 67. "He's a confidence player so will take a lot from that performance," McCullum said.
Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo