Impressive England charge to victory
England 127 for 1 (Bell 60*, Pietersen 42*) beat New Zealand 123 for 8 (Broad 2-17, Swann 2-21) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was almost the perfect Twenty20 game from England. The bowlers were exemplary, led by Stuart Broad and James Anderson, as Brendon McCullum - the man who made 158, the highest Twenty20 score, in the opening IPL match - batted into the 11th over for 24. The ground fielding was fast and accurate while the catching, except for one drop by Paul Collingwood, was secure. Contrast this with New Zealand who lost Jacob Oram 10 minutes before the game, were laboured with the bat sloppy in the field and there's no question which side enters Sunday's first ODI with the momentum.
The stage scores of New Zealand's innings show the hold England exerted. After six overs they were 33 for 2, after ten 59 for 3 and in total the innings included just 10 fours and four sixes. Broad was outstanding, conceding a little over four an over, showing that he has long since recovered from the mauling he received at the hands of Yuvraj Singh in Durban, when he went for six sixes in an over.
By contrast, England's latest opening pair gave the run-chase the ideal flying start. Bell looked a different player than the one who scratched around during the Tests, cracking effortless boundaries during the Powerplay, while Luke Wright was more agricultural. Wright has been promised a run at the top, but at times he appeared to be trying to hit the ball too hard. A couple of drives, though, showed why the selectors like him as an opening option, before he swung a catch to long-on.
As he is prone to do after one too many energy drinks, Kevin Pietersen was rather skittish early on and offered a leading edge which Daniel Vettori couldn't hold before he'd scored. However, by the end he was dominating the attack with his usual strut, while Bell eased to a 38-ball half-century, more than he'd scored in his previous four innings put together. The strokeplay of Bell and Pietersen that sealed the crushing victory was what the visitors never managed.
New Zealand were never really in the contest once McCullum was denied the chance to light the fuse. He faced just eight balls in the first six overs, and by the end of the fielding restrictions didn't have a run. He was pinned to the crease, especially by Anderson whose second over was a maiden, a fine effort for a bowler who isn't renowned for his economy, and he also cracked him on the helmet with a bouncer.
You would have got long odds on McCullum taking nine balls to get off the mark, but the key for England's quick bowlers was the extra pace provided by the surface. Unlike in New Zealand, where the short stuff was dispatched by McCullum on easy-paced surfaces, here Anderson and Broad were able to keep him on the back foot.
Ross Taylor broke the stranglehold by taking 14 off the sixth over including a slog-sweep over deep square-leg for six, similar to those he played during his 154 in the Test on this ground. But Collingwood - fresh from his 5 for 14 for Durham on Wednesday - nipped one back between bat and pad for a crucial wicket. McCullum finally cut loose with a pulled six off Luke Wright, but it was brief onslaught. Wright had his revenge when he squeezed a yorker under McCullum's bat.
Batting was no easier against spin when Graeme Swann was introduced in the 12th over and his second ball spun through Peter Fulton's half-hearted push. He should have struck again next ball when Daniel Flynn edged to slip, but Collingwood couldn't get his hands in an ideal position.
Flynn, on the ground where he lost two front teeth against an Anderson bouncer in the Test, played as well as any of his team-mates, bustling between the wickets and connecting sweetly with a couple of powerful blows. However, Scott Styris barely middled a ball during his painful 22-ball stay, and it was clear that those batsman remaining from the Tests were low on confidence and those recalled short on practice.
For England the transition appeared seamless and they rode on the momentum created from the Test series. With one eye on Antigua in November, their only concern is that they might have peaked too early.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo