|New Zealand 178 (45.1 overs): Jensen 53 (58), Farrant 2-31, Ecclestone 2-36|
|England 181-2 (33.4 overs): Beaumont 72 (86), Knight 67 (69), Jensen 1-18|
|England won by eight wickets|
England registered a comfortable eight-wicket win over New Zealand in their first one-day international match in more than a year.
Tammy Beaumont made 72 and captain Heather Knight an unbeaten 67 as they anchored England’s chase.
The tourists secured victory at Hagley Oval with 98 balls remaining.
The second game of the two-match series takes place on Thursday at Dunedin (22:00 GMT).
“England were clinical,” England’s World Cup winning spinner Alex Hartley told BT Sport.
“Every single bowler has gone out there and done their job.”
All-round England build towards World Cup
England could not have asked for a better all-round performance as they prepare to defend their World Cup title in New Zealand in just over a year’s time.
They have not played a one-day international since December 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic – their longest run without a 50-over match since 1997.
One criticism of England has been their reliance on certain bowlers but after being asked to field first, they put in a controlled performance to dry up the runs, and wickets were shared around the seven bowlers used.
Left-armer Farrant claimed two wickets in her first ODI since 2013, dismissing key batter Amy Sattherwaite and Lea Tahuhu.
Sophie Ecclestone took two wickets in two balls with her left-arm spin, while Nat Sciver dismissed stand-out player Sophie Devine.
With the bat, England were clinical. Beaumont and Knight registered their fourth 50 partnership in their past five ODI innings, with both players showing an easy ability to manipulate the ball around the field.
Beaumont fell with 43 runs still needed but Knight simply accelerated, hitting seven fours and one six in her 69-ball innings.
They will face sterner opposition than New Zealand, who have lost their past 10 ODIs, but it is a positive start for Knight’s side.