New Zealand defied a stubborn England and rain to win its opening World T20 match by nine runs, via the Duckworth-Lewis method, here on Saturday.

Chasing a challenging target of 173, the Kiwis were 52 for one after 5.2 overs when heavy rain halted play.

New Zealand, which needed to score 43 in 5.2 overs on the D-L method, was adjudged the winner. Kane Williamson was unbeaten on 24 and skipper Brendon McCullum on 16 at that stage. The Kiwis had lost opener Martin Guptill for 11.

England, asked to bat first, posted 172 for six, thanks to contributions from Moeen Ali (36), Michael Lumb (33) and Jos Buttler (32).

Ravi Bopara was unbeaten on 24 off 19 balls, while Tim Bresnan was not out on 17 off eight balls.

Buttler looked threatening during his innings, which contained six boundaries, but was bowled by Anderson, who was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with two for 32.

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