Stokes warms to the task
Ben Stokes shone with the bat as England Under-19s won their first warm-up game ahead of the World Cup when they cruised past Wellington 'A' by six wickets.
Chasing 214 to win, England went past the winning post with 13 overs remaining with Stokes, who was born in Christchurch and lived in Wellington, unbeaten on 50.
England captain Azeem Rafiq won the toss and under cloudy skies opted to bowl first on a hard wicket at Karori.
England's new ball bowlers Matthew Dunn and David Payne, of Surrey and Gloucestershire respectively, faced a daunting task as New Zealand Test opener Jesse Ryder strode out to face the first ball.
Ryder, who cracked a double century against India last March, is recovering from an abductor strain but Payne, who had already taken a wicket in his first over, ensured the fearsome hitter made just 11 when he was caught by Chris Dent.
That wicket left Wellington 22 for two, which soon became 39 for three when Payne combined with wicketkeeper Michael Bates to claim his third wicket.
Wellington mounted a mini-revival until Nathan Buck took the first of his three wickets to reduce the hosts to 76 for four in the 15th over.
Wellington captain Brendan Crook and Fraser Colson dragged their side towards respectability with an 80-run stand for the fifth wicket.
The returning Dunn brought their counter-attack to an end in the 33rd over when he bowled Crooks for 57, a dismissal which triggered a steady fall of wickets.
Warwickshire all-rounder Ateeq Javid and Danny Briggs both took a wicket apiece as Wellington stumbled to 191 for seven leaving Buck and Dunn to polish off the tail.
England made a perfect start in their reply with openers Joe Root and Dent blunting New Zealand pace bowler Mark Gillespie en route to a quickfire 63-run partnership.
The pair fell in quick succession, both to Malaesaili Tugaga, as England slipped to 72 for two in the 12th over.
But the double setback did little to stop, England who continued to canter towards victory with James Vince and Jos Buttler, of Hampshire and Somerset, putting on 68 runs.
Both were dismissed by Mark Houghton, which set the stage for Stokes to blast England home.
The Durham all-rounder cracked five fours and four sixes to finish unbeaten on 50 from just 32 balls.