Ben Stokes' eventful return and other talking points as New Zealand beat England

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Stokes was in the thick of things on his return.

New Zealand pulled off a remarkable and tense chase to beat England by three wickets in the first ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

There were talking points aplenty in a high-scoring game at Hamilton as we take a look at the key ones.

BEN STOKES’ EVENTFUL RETURN

All eyes in the first ODI were always going to be on Ben Stokes’ return to the national fold following his indefinite suspension for the infamous Bristol bar incident. His first innings upon his return lasted only 22 balls with the scratchiness from a long lay-off well evident.

However, his golden arm was at the fore once again as he broke a potentially match-winning partnership between Taylor and Latham by removing the latter for his first wicket since September.

He then deceived Colin de Grandhomme with a slower ball to capture his second wicket, making his return to the side for the first time since September an eventful one.

The 26-year-old was some way off the athletic force he can be and that is understandable after being out for so long. However, despite the rustiness, he remained in the thick of things and should be back at his very best with some more match practice.

Stokes was scratchy with the bat but showed he still has a golden arm.

Stokes was scratchy with the bat but showed he still has a golden arm.

ROSS TAYLOR JOINS THE 7,000 CLUB

The Kiwi middle-order batsman showed once again that he is hugely underrated. With the hosts in all sorts of trouble after being reduced to 27-3 in their chase of 285, Ross Taylor combined with Tom Latham to put on a stupendous partnership of 179. It was very much reminiscent of their match-winning 200-run stand for the fourth wicket during their ODI tour of India towards the end of 2017.

While Latham eventually departed for a well-made 79, Taylor carried on to slam his 18th ODI ton, breaching the 7,000-run mark in the process. He becomes the third Kiwi batsman after Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle to reach that figure and the seventh fastest overall in the history of ODI cricket

The underrated batsman notched up his 18th ODI ton.

The underrated batsman notched up his 18th ODI ton.

SANTNER’S SMASHING CAMEO WINS IT FOR THE HOSTS

While Taylor and Latham had done all the hard work of getting New Zealand closer to the finish line, it took an entertaining cameo from all-rounder Mitchell Santner to eventually win it. Just when it looked like England had extinguished all Kiwi hopes with the dismissals of Taylor and Latham, Santner pulled out a stunning knock from his locker.

He finished the match off with a six off Chris Woakes, his fourth of the innings, to finish unbeaten on 45 from just 26 deliveries.

Santner turned the game on its head with a match-winning cameo.

Santner turned the game on its head with a match-winning cameo.

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