England ease to Eden Park win
Dimitri Mascarenhas delivered with bat and ball to guide England to a comfortable 32-run victory in Tuesday's opening Twenty20 International over New Zealand.
The Hampshire all-rounder injected some badly-needed momentum into England's stuttering innings by hitting 31 off 14 balls to help the tourists reach a competitive 184 for eight after being put in to bat.
Mascarenhas then claimed two for 19 from his four overs, including the key wickets of Jamie How and Scott Styris, to ensure New Zealand were always struggling to keep up with the rate and were dismissed for 152.
His superb all-round display made amends for his disappointing ICC World Twenty20 tournament, when he reached double figures only once in five innings and was generally expensive with the ball.
On this occasion, though, he demonstrated his great ability to clear the ropes with the bat and great composure with the ball as England maintained their 100 per cent winning record on their tour of New Zealand.
Mascarenhas' strokeplay was required after England failed to build on an explosive innings of 43 off 24 balls from Kevin Pietersen, which included a six and six fours.
The tourists had decided to leave out in-form Alastair Cook, who scored a hundred in Sunday's warm-up victory over Canterbury, and instead partner hard-hitting Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright with wicketkeeper Phil Mustard at the the top of the order.
It was a combination which failed to spark with Wright falling to his third ball when he edged Chris Martin behind and was soon followed by Mustard, who hit an entertaining 20 from 13 balls, being caught in the deep after miscuing an attempted pull.
Ian Bell fell cheaply to Jacob Oram's yorker, but Pietersen ensured England continued at a healthy rate and looked on course for a major innings until he was brilliantly caught low down by Ross Taylor at mid-on.
After his demise, England's innings stagnated and it took Mascarenhas, who memorably hit five successive sixes off India's Yuvraj Singh at The Oval last summer, to ignite it again.
After debutant Jesse Ryder had conceded only two runs and trapped Owais Shah lbw, stand-in captain Brendon McCullum decided to take him off and bring back off-spinner Jeetan Patel.
It was a costly decision by McCullum, leading the side in the absence of injured captain Daniel Vettori, with Mascarenhas hitting four successive sixes before being caught in the deep in the next over off seamer Kyle Mills.
His efforts enabled England to pass 180 and they built on that momentum with left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom claiming two wickets in an opening spell of 3-0-12-2 to dismiss the dangerous McCullum and Taylor.
Mascarenhas increased the pressure on New Zealand by striking with his second delivery to have How caught at long on and in his next over he bowled Styris around his legs attempting a pull.
Facing an increasing required run-rate, New Zealand lost wickets regularly with hard-hitting debutant Ryder being cruelly run-out off Mascarenhas' bowling after slipping attempting to return to the non-striker's end.
Only big-hitting all-rounder Oram offered any continued threat and he raced to a 31-ball half-century - the highest score in the match - including five fours and two sixes.
Oram was dismissed for 61 off 40 balls with four balls remaining after driving Sidebottom to long off but by then even he had given up hope of securing an unlikely victory having started the final over needing 37 to win.