At Westpac Stadium, Wellington, February 9, 2008 (day/night). New Zealand won by six wickets. Toss: England. One-day international debut: J. D. Ryder.
New Zealand cricket was at a low ebb going into this series: not only had they been on the end of two hefty Twenty20 defeats, but they were haemorrhaging players to wealthy tournaments in India. The rebel Indian Cricket League had already deprived them of Shane Bond, the No. 1 bowler in the world one-day rankings, and the official Indian Premier League appeared to have influenced Scott Styris's decision a week earlier to retire from Test cricket. With England's one- day fortunes on the up, the first match in Wellington was expected to continue that trend. However, they came so spectacularly unstuck that New Zealand (back under Vettori) hardly broke sweat, winning with 20 overs to spare. England simply never got to grips with the conditions and were dismissed for a well-below-par 130, with three run-outs. The slow drop-in pitch made fluent strokeplay difficult, and the fact there was no square around it meant shots that would have beaten fielders on genuine cricket grounds were holding up on the rugby turf. Attacking such a small target presented little challenge to New Zealand's new opening pair, Ryder and McCullum. They broke the back of the run-chase with 61 in 13 overs, making victory a formality.
Man of the Match: S. B. Styris. Attendance: 16,635.