Kane Williamson has hailed New Zealand's performance in what he says was close to a "must-win" game against England in the tri-nations Twenty20 international series.
The Black Caps beat England by 12 runs in Wellington on Tuesday, thanks to top-scorer Williamson's 72 and 65 from opener Martin Guptill.
The visitors had won the toss and put New Zealand in to bat, leaving the skipper satisfied at his team's efforts on what appeared to be a challenging surface.
"Obviously very important in the context of the series, in some ways a must-win against a very strong England side," he said.
"We had to play good cricket today. It was important we assessed the wicket, [it] played a lot better than it looked and we got off to a good start."
Williamson had not made a Twenty20 half-century since January 2017, failing to past 50 in his subsequent nine attempts in the shortest format.
And it was a relief for the captain to make a major contribution in the contest between two winless sides at Westpac Stadium.
"You always want more runs, you always train hard, that's the focus," he said.
"There's been occasions recently when you want to contribute but it wasn't to be.
"There were enough partnerships today and the two debutants played nice cameos."
Of New Zealand's bowling attack, who restricted England to 184-9 in reply, he added: "[I] thought the guys stuck at it really well, Trent [Boult] was outstanding at the death, but we knew it would be a challenge and the guys stepped up to the mark today."
Captaining England in the absence of the injured Eoin Morgan, wicketkeeper Jos Buttler acknowledged his team's failure to suppress the scoring of Williamson and Guptill proved costly.
"They put us under pressure and we tried to find way to break that partnership. We dragged it back pretty well but they got too many," he said.
"We probably didn't get those cameos lower down, myself coming in and failing and that made a difference."
England now need Australia, who have already reached the final, to defeat New Zealand on Friday if they are to have any hope of making it to the decider in Auckland next week.
"That's what we need now, so we'll wait and see what happens," Buttler said.
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