Nearly four months later and 18,000 kilometres away, this time Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham's contributions against England got the Black Caps over the line.

Guptill and Neesham, playing in the same game for the first time since their infamous Super Over combination in the World Cup final, were the blocks for Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi to build upon as the Black Caps leveled the Twenty20 series against England at one apiece.

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A 21-run win at Westpac Stadium was started by Guptill's 41 and Neesham's 42, as the Black Caps overcame a slow middle period and a brief lower-order English scare to bounce back from their defeat on Friday in Christchurch.

A return to Wellington, where they haven't lost a T20 since 2013, and the shorter boundaries on offer at the Cake Tin proved hospitable for the Black Caps' bigger hitters, after being sent in to bat for the second straight clash.


Guptill's return to the scene of his highest one-day score helped him bust his recent slump, and in reasonable style as well. After just one six in his last nine innings, Guptill welcomed English debutant Saqib Mahmood to international cricket with a long-awaited straight six, as the Black Caps produced a much quicker start than in their opener.

Guptill's knock – eventually ended after 28 balls by Adil Rashid - was complemented by a classic Colin de Grandhomme cameo – 28 from 12 balls – as the Black Caps had a helping hand from some ropey English fielding.

James Vince spilled a sitter from Tim Seifert, and after wicketkeeper Sam Billings put down Guptill, Vince couldn't hang on to a much more difficult chance to remove the Black Caps opener.

However, Vince's biggest blunder came when he dropped Neesham – on four – in the deep. Ross Taylor (28 from 24) and Daryl Mitchell (five from nine) had allowed England to wrestle back into the contest, but Neesham produced his highest Twenty20 score to give the innings impetus once more.

In his first Twenty20 since 2017, Neesham ended with 42 from 22 balls, and after Chris Jordan (3-23) and Sam Curran (2-22) had pegged them back, the Black Caps reached a defendable total at 176-8.

That total became eminently more defendable when Jonny Bairstow was dismissed first ball by Tim Southee – the rare occasion the phrase 'perfect start' is actually accurate – then Vince's shocking day ended as he first came out to the crease with two left gloves, before being caught on the point boundary to reduce England to 3-2.

Eoin Morgan (32 from 17) and Dawid Malan (39 from 29) provided resistance, but their required run rate skyrocketed under pressure from Sodhi and Santner.

Mitchell Santner celebrates a wicket. Photo / Photosport
Mitchell Santner celebrates a wicket. Photo / Photosport

Santner again shone with 3-25, while Sodhi had 2-15 from his first 20 balls as the pair varied their flight and speed to see all five wickets caught in the deep by the safe hands of either de Grandhomme or Guptill.


However, while Sodhi's first 20 balls were superb, his last four were disastrous, with Jordan blasting 22 runs from his final four offerings to cut England's equation from 79 runs off 40 balls, to 57 off 36.

Just as a win looked possible once again, Santner removed Jordan, leaving all-rounder Lewis Gregory as England's last hope. But, as the seamers returned, he became the fourth batsman to pick out de Grandhomme – whose soft hands ensured a comfortable win.