Durban:New Zealand edged past England by a mere five runs in a nail-biting encounter in the super eight stage of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Durban on Tuesday.
Despite a shaky start, the Kiwis had recovered to post a competitive 164 for nine, with significant contributions by Scott Styris (42) and Craig McMillan (57).
In response, England got off to a solid start but faltered as the New Zealand bowlers continued to build pressure and pick wickets consistently.
The English innings eventually finished at 159 for eight after 20 overs with Stuart Broad and CP Schofield at the wicket.
McMillan was adjudged man of the match for his blistering innings, which included three boundaries and four huge sixes.
Eng elect to field
Earlier England skipper Paul Collingwood won the toss and put New Zealand into bat.
The English pacemen made good use of the helpful conditions with James Anderson striking in the very first over when Vikram Solanki caught B McCullum off a short delivery for four.
Next, PG Fulton joined Vincent in the middle, but in the second over, Andrew Flintoff sent back Fulton for naught trapping him leg-before.
Thereafter, Ross Taylor came out with hopes to restore order for the Kiwis, but his stint in the middle was short-lived as Flintoff caught him off Anderson's bowling for 7. Vincent followed soon after that as Solanki snapped him up off a Stuart Broad delivery.
Scott Styris and Craig McMillan then steadied the ship, with Styris smashing some lusty blows to boost the run-rate.
Styris eventually fell in the 13th over, run out by Darren Maddy, after having scored a valiant 42 off 31 balls.
McMillan, who played second fiddle to Styris, took the attack to the English bowlers after Styris' dismissal and scored a smashing 57 off just 31 balls.
However, England hit back as Darren Maddy snuffed up McMillan and Jacob Oram (8) in the 17th over.
For England, Anderson and Maddy impressed with two wickets each, while the young Broad, the miserly Flintoff and Collingwood sent back one batsman each.
Chasing 165 to win, England openers Vikram Solanki and Darren Maddy made a cautious start against the threatening Kiwi pace attack of Shane Bond and Mark Gillespie and pushed up the run rate steadily.
They shared a partnership of 62 runs before Vikram Solanki was caught by Lou Vincent off Daniel Vettori for 24. He smashed four boundaries before getting out and giving New Zealand a much-needed breakthrough.
After his dismissal Kevin Pietersen joined Maddy, who scored a gritty half-century before being run out in an attempt to increase the run-rate.
England skipper Paul Collingwood joined Pietersen, but lasted for a mere five balls falling to Chris Martin.
The dangerous Pietersen, however, took the reins of the England order into his hands and, along with Owais Shah, powered England past the 100-run mark.
But New Zealand struck back instantly, with skipper Vettori sending Pietersen back and a terrible mix-up resulting in Andrew Flintoff being run out for just 1 run.
Thereafter, Shah (21) and Luke Wright continued to battle hard taking England within reach of the Kiwi total; however, Shah was run out on the first ball of the 19th over.
His dismissal saw the England lower order capitulate with D Mascarenhas and Wright (24) falling in the same over.
England: DL Maddy, VS Solanki, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, OA Shah, A Flintoff, LJ Wright, AD Mascarenhas, CP Schofield, SCJ Broad, JM Anderson.
New Zealand: BB McCullum, L Vincent, PG Fulton, RL Taylor, SB Styris, JDP Oram, CD McMillan, DL Vettori, SE Bond, MR Gillespie, CS Martin.