Buttler enjoys 'perfect' start
Jos Buttler described England's 46-run win over a New Zealand XI as a "perfect" way to start their tour.
Buttler's maiden 50 for his country, captain Stuart Broad's late hat-trick and three wickets each for Chris Woakes and Jade Dernbach were the eye-catching individual contributions as England began their campaign with a comfortable success in this first Twenty20 warm-up fixture.
Buttler and Woakes' performances were the most significant, both to give England the edge on Tuesday and cheer for the future.
Broad's intervention - when the match was already as good as won - brought him the statistical highlight and Dernbach recovered from an unpromising start to take the key wicket of Colin Munro (55).
But it was Buttler (57no) who did most to carry England, in company with Eoin Morgan, up to 186 for three at the Cobham Oval - and then Woakes eliminated both openers cheaply to put the hosts' unlikely chase in immediate trouble.
Buttler dominated an unbroken stand of 77 with Morgan but was adamant afterwards others deserved credit.
"It was great to get our first win, and obviously it was a really good all-round performance from everyone," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"I think as a blueprint for a batting plan, it was perfect. Wickets in hand at the end allow people to come in, as I did today, and score freely at the end.
"It was testament to the guys ahead of me. They realised it was a bit of hard work and, instead of playing any rash shots, they got through that hard period and built a brilliant position for me to come in at the end.
"It's the perfect way to set up a Twenty20 innings, for that explosive finish at the end.
"With people like Jonny (Bairstow) and Samit (Patel) to come in, there's a lot of power. So it gives us that licence to be really aggressive."
Twenty-two-year-old Buttler is clearly earmarked by England as a potential star, particularly in the short formats.
But he has had to be patient, after 21 international matches so far, to record his first half-century - and albeit in only a tour fixture, it is a telling milestone.
"It's obviously a proud moment," he said.
"I better not get too far ahead of myself - tomorrow is another day. But I'm looking forward to the series."
He knows already that he - rather than Bairstow - will be employed behind as well as in front of the stumps in the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand, starting on Saturday.
"It's something I've been working really hard on," he said. "It's great to get this opportunity to do it.
"I think I'm going to take the gloves for the series ... definitely for the Twenty20s, so that's what I'm concentrating on at the minute.
"I'm really excited about it, and today's a good start.
"It's great to know that's what's happening. I can really put my mind on it, and work hard in training on it."
Buttler made sure Woakes and Broad got a deserved mention from him too today.
"Chris bowled really well up front. Early wickets in Twenty20 are vital," he said.
"They put the opposition on the back foot, and Woakesy did that really well.
"Munro came in and played well, but we held our nerve really well."
It was Buttler, with a catch behind to account for Matt Henry, who ensured an appropriate minor moment of glory as Broad returned with some style in his first significant spell for his country since his recovery from a heel injury.
"It probably just sits behind his Test match hat-trick but I'm sure he really enjoyed it," Buttler said with a smile.
"It's great to have him back and bowling really well.
"A hat-trick is a great moment in any form of cricket."