A sound middle-order partnership by Colin de Grandhomme and Ross Taylor pushed New Zealand to 180 for seven batting first against England in the third Twenty20 international in Nelson on Tuesday.
De Grandhomme smacked 55 off 35 while Taylor anchored the innings with a more sedate 27 from 24 in a 66-run stand after New Zealand were three down in the eighth over.
It was a better performance by England in the field with a much-improved catching effort which accounted for four of the seven wickets.
But the bowling discipline dropped as New Zealand benefited from eight wides and two no balls.
Martin Guptill gave New Zealand a flying start with seven boundaries on his way to 33 before he was well caught by Tom Curran who had to turn and run back from wide mid-off to claim the catch.
Fellow opener Colin Munro went four balls later, with Curran the bowler and Saqib Mahmood the catcher.
Leg-spinner Matt Parkinson needed only five balls on debut to claim his first international wicket when he bowled Tim Seifert attempting an injudicious reverse sweep.
It left New Zealand at 69 for three and needing de Grandhomme and Taylor to forge a comprehensive partnership.
With veteran Taylor defending one end, de Grandhomme was able to play his usual aggressive game at the other with five fours and three sixes in his 55.
The pair added 66 in seven overs before de Grandhomme grew frustrated at Tom Curran's repeated changes of pace and mistimed a slower delivery to be caught at long on.
Taylor walked on an lbw shout from Saqib Mahmood for 27 when television replays showed the ball would have drifted outside the leg stump.
Jimmy Neesham who fired up the tail end of New Zealand's successful innings in the second match added a further 20 with Mitchell Santner run out on the last ball for 15.
Tom Curran's two for 29 was the best of the England bowling figures.
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