Ben Stokes marked his return to one-day internationals with a half-century before captain Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone put on a rapid stand of 77 late in the innings to help push England to 291-6 against New Zealand in the first match of the Cricket World Cup warmup series on Friday.
Stokes (52) opted to come out of ODI retirement ahead of England’s World Cup title defense in India starting next month and was one of four batters to post fifties on a tough track at Sophia Gardens.
Another was Dawid Malan (54), who was part of an emergency opening partnership with Harry Brook (25) because of injuries to Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy. Brook has been controversially left out of England’s World Cup squad and is staking a claim for a late call-up.
New Zealand was on top after removing Joe Root for 6 to leave England 101-3 in the 21st over but Stokes and Buttler, who was the top scorer with 72 off 68 balls on his 33rd birthday, steadied the innings with a partnership of 88.
Big-hitting Liam Livingstone weighed in with a lively 52 off 40, including three sixes, alongside Buttler before both fell to Tim Southee in the same over late on.
David Willey’s unbeaten 21 included a six down the ground off the last ball.
Allrounder Rachin Ravindra had 3-48 off his 10 overs of spin.
It was the rivals’ first meeting since their epic Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s in 2019.
Roy had a back spasm hours before the game that ruled him out while Bairstow was rested after hurting his right shoulder in the fourth Twenty20 against New Zealand on Tuesday. That series ended 2-2 and the ODI series also contains four matches.
England will play New Zealand in the opening match of the World Cup in Ahmedabad on Oct. 5.