In their first 20-over contest since the whitewash defeat to Bangladesh in March, England got off to a flying start, taking three wickets in the powerplay.
Glenn Phillips top-scored for the visitors with 41 off 38 before falling to Luke Wood, who finished with three wickets alongside Durham quick Brydon Carse.
Although Jonny Bairstow was dismissed early on, two of his Yorkshire team-mates stepped forward. Dawid Malan, pictured, whose 54 off 42 balls put England in the driving seat along, and Harry Brook’s unbeaten 43 off 27 balls, gave the hosts the advantage going into the second T20 at Old Trafford on Friday.
Despite being given an early scare when Finn Allen smashed three consecutive sixes off the first over, a change of ends in the fourth helped Wood kick off a dominant powerplay for England.
The Lancashire bowler took the first wicket of the evening as Devon Conway feathered behind to Jos Buttler and more wickets tumbled when Carse resumed from the Finchale End to earn his first T20 international scalp for England after clean-bowling Allen.
Wood struck again to send Tim Seifert’s bails flying as New Zealand were suddenly 38-3 after six overs.
Their woes continued when Moeen Ali clipped Mark Chapman’s off-stump in the eighth over but Phillips and Daryl Mitchell tried to regain control with some good running to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Liam Livingstone ended the partnership, however, tempting Mitchell into looping the ball to long-off aiming for a six, but Brook was on the boundary to comfortably catch.
Phillips was beginning to run out of partners when Mitchell Santner sliced the ball straight to Wood off Adil Rashid.
Wood’s return in the 17th over saw Phillips eventually fall for 41 after Sam Curran made an excellent dive to his left.
Carse ended Ish Sodhi and Adam Milne’s quickfire 26-run partnership, taking both of their wickets to finish with figures of 3-23.
Set 140 to chase, Bairstow smashed four off Tim Southee, before edging to Mitchell at slip.
Aiming to capitalise on their positive start, Milne and Southee restricted England to singles but the introduction of Lockie Ferguson saw Will Jacks suddenly tee off, smashing back-to-back fours before thumping one into the stands for six.
Not to be outdone, Malan put away three consecutive fours off Santner and some more tidy running brought England to 61-1 at the end of the powerplay.
Sodhi struck when Jacks gave Allen to comfortably catch, but Malan instantly responded by belting a huge six at deep midwicket.
Brook dispatched two successive Sodhi deliveries into the stands before Malan fired another ball into the crowd to bring up his 50.
Ferguson ended Malan’s heavy hitting with Mitchell catching the batter at mid-on, but Livingstone put the game to bed in style with a huge six with 36 balls to spare.