England take confidence from second win
An emphatic and thoroughly deserved victory in the second Twenty20 match puts England in great heart for the 50-over series that starts in Wellington on Saturday.
Their extra experience at this form of the game shone like a beacon under the Lancaster Park floodlights - and it is clear that they took great confidence from their opening victory in Auckland on Tuesday.
Luke Wright and Phil Mustard got the innings away to a tremendous start, thrashing 65 from the first six overs – but this was the only time that New Zealand were in the game as they took four wickets in four overs to reduce England to 76-4.
Mini-collapses such as that are very much a part of Twenty20 cricket, and the pressure on the batting team can quickly build to breaking point.
But Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah never appeared to be the least bit fazed by the situation and, after a cautious start, went on to add 107 in just 10 overs.
Collingwood’s 54 from 27 balls contained five sixes - England hit 12 in all, and Shah's 47 was full of cleverly placed strokes rather than big hits.
New Zealand’s batsmen have still to work out that there is more to batting in this cricket than reckless swiping - they should learn from Shah - and they completely played into the hands of England’s bowlers who appear to have the ball on a piece of string at the moment.
Stuart Broad's clever change of pace deceived the batsmen virtually every time, and Ryan Sidebottom is bowling yorkers at will.
I must also mention Mustard behind the stumps. Slick and unfussy, he really looks the part. It's a shame that, inevitably, he will be judged on his batting too.
Although his hitting here was spectacular, he does appear capable of batting in just one way and he should have kept his head when England lost three wickets in three overs rather than slogging the ball up to long-on and leaving his team with two new batsmen at the crease.
But that was the only blemish on what was otherwise a flawless performance by England.
Although veterans Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori are both hopeful of returning to the team for Saturday's first one-day international, Collingwood's team move into the phase two of the tour in good spirits.