NZ skipper Kane Williamson smashes his way to brilliant half century as he finds his T20 form against England




Blazing half-centuries from Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson have lifted New Zealand to an imposing 196-5 in the tri-series Twenty20 international against England in Wellington.

Sent in to bat on a patchy Westpac Stadium pitch, opener Guptill raced to 65 off 40 balls on Tuesday while captain Williamson accelerated late in his 72 off 46.

The pair, who had both been in modest form by their standards in recent internationals, put on 82 for the second wicket following the early departure of Colin Munro.

Newcomers Mark Chapman (20) and Tim Seifert (14 not out) provided the late fireworks.

Former Hong Kong international left-hander Chapman and wicketkeeper Seifert are making their international debuts, having replaced Tom Bruce and Tom Blundell.

England's bowlers were relatively loose, with legspinner Adil Rashid (2-36) and speedster Mark Wood (2-51) the most successful.

Wood and Liam Plunkett were recalled after missing Saturday's seven-wicket loss to Australia in Melbourne.

Their highlight was a spectacular leaping catch at long off from Chris Jordan to remove Colin de Grandhomme first ball.

On the previous delivery, Rashid got his revenge on Guptill, who had earlier dispatched him for three sixes over midwicket.

Williamson was lucky not to be run out by Wood on the first ball he faced.

The skipper's spot has been under pressure after several ineffectual knocks in T20 internationals and his place was called into question by former Black Cap Simon Doull.

Williamson responded with innings that began cautiously but later flowered with four fours and four sixes, defying a back niggle which had made him a doubtful starter.

A defeat for England would be their third in the tri-series following successive losses in Australia and leave them unlikely to reach the final.

Their chase for 197 will be without regular skipper Eoin Morgan, who is sidelined again with a groin injury.

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