sport news James Vince powers England to a series-opening seven-wicket win

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James Vince can't seem to get enough of the view at picture-postcard Hagley Oval.

It was here in April 2018 that he made 76 in a gripping Test match. Now, on a glorious day in Christchurch, he scored 59 as England's new era began with a seven-wicket victory in the first game of this five-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand.

Vince was left out of England's Test squad when the 2018 summer began, and is yet to return. But his maiden T20 half-century at his ninth attempt was the kind of early marker selectors notice with a World Cup only a year away.

James Vince scored 59 as England beat New Zealand to take the lead in their five-match series

James Vince scored 59 as England beat New Zealand to take the lead in their five-match series

Vince once again found the Hagley Oval a happy hunting ground after last year's Test here

Vince once again found the Hagley Oval a happy hunting ground after last year's Test here

His critics – and there have been plenty of them – will say he should have completed the job. But with 33 needed off five overs, he contrived to pull the left-arm spin of Mitchell Santner straight to deep midwicket, and walked off with an angry swish of the bat.

Yet there was plenty in his 38-ball innings to catch the eye at this most distracting of venues, all grassy banks and trees shimmering in the breeze. Vince began by timing Santner through the covers, and later launched Scott Kuggeleijn back over his head for six.

Perhaps the shot of the innings came when he advanced at Tim Southee – New Zealand's captain for this series in the absence of the injured Kane Williamson – and swatted him for six more towards the Botanic Garden End.

That made it all the more infuriating when a half-tracker from the otherwise immaculate Santner disappeared not into the crowd beyond deep midwicket but into the safe hands of Martin Guptill.

By then, though, England were in charge of their pursuit of a modest 154, especially with Eoin Morgan easing his way into the tour.

England's Pat Brown is congratulated by team mates after dismissing Ross Taylor

England's Pat Brown is congratulated by team mates after dismissing Ross Taylor

With his stand-in vice-captain Sam Billings at the other end, victory came with nine balls to spare, Morgan pulling Southee for the decisive six. For new

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