England all-rounder Ben Stokes savoured an emotional return to form after he shone with bat and ball in a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the second one-day international in Tauranga.
Stokes was named man of the match after claiming two wickets and two run-outs as England restricted the hosts to 223 and then top-scoring for the tourists with an unbeaten 63 as they levelled the five-game series.
It was only the 26-year-old’s second match since returning to the England fold, having been suspended while he was investigated and charged with affray following an alleged incident in Bristol in September.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back among the team, being around all the lads and even the backroom staff,” he told Sky Sports.
“The time spent at home, the amount of hard work that I’ve put in – that feeling walking out the other night was amazing. It was a bit emotional tonight walking off the field not out.
“I did [feel nervous] before but when I walked out there it was the normal feeling I get. That was the one place that I wanted to be, representing my country. It was an amazing feeling. I’m back here now and I’m really glad to have contributed to a winning game tonight.”
Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes also took two wickets each as England mustered a much-improved fielding display.
They reduced New Zealand to 147-8, despite opener Martin Guptill’s 50, before Mitchell Santner spurred a late rally with 63 not out, his first one-day half-century.
Opener Jonny Bairstow hit 37 but Jason Roy (8) and Joe Root (9) fell cheaply before captain Eoin Morgan’s 62 gave England renewed impetus.
Morgan and Stokes shared a stand of 88 and Jos Buttler swept them to victory with 36 off 20 balls, including the match-winning six.
The third match of the series is on Saturday in Wellington.