Eoin Morgan thought the match had got away from England at the Westpac Stadium when Kane Williamson and Mitchell Santner were together only for a bit of "luck" to turn it back their way, but he was delighted with his side for winning a match in conditions where they have often been found wanting.
They ground their way to 234, on a surface that Morgan felt offered a bit too much to the bowlers, with the captain saying he and Ben Stokes had judged that 250 would be the upper limit of England's ambitions. Then Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid rattled through New Zealand's middle order. However, the match turned again as Williamson and Santner added 96, only for Santner to be run out backing up when a Williamson drive clipped Chris Woakes' fingers
"Yeah, they did," Morgan said when asked if it looked like New Zealand would prevail. "Particularly some of the shots they were playing. Crunching it hard, along the ground, they played really well. It was an outstanding knock from Kane supported by Santner
"You earn a little bit of luck along the way, but Woakesy was trying to catch the ball and it's a really unlucky way to get out."
Even then, Williamson almost stole it in the final over which started with 15 needed and a six over square leg off Woakes made it 7 off 3 - after the match the New Zealand captain said he felt it was within his grasp - before Woakes went full and straight to close it out.
"We're not known as a side who wins in [those conditions]. Fighting our way to a competitive total - it was probably quite fortunate that me and Ben had the partnership the other day and were in a good headspace to compare wickets and make a call that it wasn't a 270 wicket," Morgan said. "The way we were going we thought if we played really well we might get 250, but I thought we were always in the game.
"New Zealand started well, Munro and Kane got a partnership going but they never got away from us…then the spinners came on and turned the game on the head which was nice. They did a fantastic job. When a lot is expected of you, to have the ability to change the momentum or turn the game on its head, I thought they dealt with that really well."
Morgan also praised the late role played by Tom Curran who was preferred at the death ahead of either Mark Wood or Ben Stokes despite being England's most expensive bowler (barring Joe Root's solitary over). Morgan explained it was Curran's ability with the slower ball that tilted things his way, and he secured two dot balls against Williamson in the penultimate over.
"I did think about Wood," Morgan said. "I thought TC was doing a great job, his slower balls were coming out beautifully. When Woakesy got the run out I was thinking Kane really doesn't want to take a risk, and the biggest risk is trying to hit a slower ball in the air."
For Williamson, this was a tough defeat to swallow having hauled his team so close on his return from injury. He blamed a lack of smart batting in the middle of the chase against England's spinners, and although he didn't single out players Mark Chapman's shot to find point and Colin de Grandhomme's loft to long-on were poor choices.
"Just a bugger, eh," was his summary of the near miss. "Saying that, if we took smarter options then it shouldn't have got to that point but credit to England's slow bowlers, they bowled very nicely on that surface. When we lost a couple of those wickets it was tough to put them under pressure as they were very accurate.
"Collectively it wasn't our smartest effort. You try and work in partnerships on that surface. You can get a maiden over, two maiden overs, chasing 230 that's okay. We didn't soak up that pressure very well, but it was tough to start. Just a shame we couldn't get some of those medium-sized partnerships."