Brendon McCullum praises New Zealand's fight in one-day win over England
Last Updated: February 17, 2013 10:46am
Brendan McCullum: Captain's innings for New Zealand
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum praised his side's fighting characteristics as they won the first one-day international of the three-match series with England.
McCullum produced a match-winning innings of 69 while a limping Martin Guptill returned after retiring hurt to help defeat the tourists at Seddon Park on Sunday.
Guptill left the field on three after straining his left hamstring only to return when New Zealand were 218-7, and made an unbeaten 27 as the hosts passed England's total of 258 with three wickets to spare.
"They were 180 for two at one point and for us to show those fighting characteristics and restrict them to under 260 was fantastic," said McCullum.
"I'm delighted for the team to bounce back again after the T20 series (loss against England) and continue the momentum we built up in South Africa in this form of the game."
McCullum needed to provide the game-winning innings after he ran out Kane Williamson when New Zealand appeared well placed for victory at 142-3 in the 34th over.
Williamson's departure produced a tighter-than-expected finish as New Zealand wickets fell regularly before McCullum seized the initiative and Guptill returned to flail away then hit the winning runs and give the hosts a 1-0 series lead.
"I thought he was playing outstanding," McCullum said with a smile, while also stating he had apologised to the 22-year-old Williamson.
"His intent right from ball one was superb and he was controlling the game nicely. It's a shame I cut him off but hopefully he can back that up."