Blackcaps v West Indies: Lockie Ferguson's five wickets help NZ to unlikely victory in opener

Lockie Ferguson and Jimmy Neesham have dragged New Zealand to an unlikely victory over West Indies in the summer's opening international fixture at Auckland's Eden Park.

With the ball, Ferguson became the second Kiwi - behind skipper Tim Southee - to grab a five-wicket bag in international T20 play, while Neesham emerged with the bat to strike an unbeaten 48 runs off 24 balls, guiding his side home with four balls to spare.

In a rain-affected contest, New Zealand needed to chase down 176 runs in 16 overs and reached that target, when allrounder Santner swung high into the stand for six in the final over.

After Southee won the toss and elected to field, the home side quickly fell behind, as ran disrupted the early stages. West Indies rocketed to 54/0 in three overs, before Ferguson brought their momentum to a halt.

Bowling at 150kph and fresh from two weeks in COVID-19 quarantine, he had Andre Fletcher and Shimron Hetmyer dismissed in his first over and trapped Nicholas Pooran leg before wicket with the first ball of his second to sit on a hat-trick ball.

Fabian Allen survived that pressure, but the Windies had lost five wickets for one run, with Southee also grabbing two wickets.

Allen and captain Kieron Pollard compiled an 84-run partnership to put their side back on top, before Ferguson returned to claim Allen and Keemo Paul, both caught behind by wicketkeeper Tim Seifert.

Pollard continued to plunder the other Blackcaps bowlers, scoring 75 runs off 37 balls and steering his team to 180/7.

Due to the rain, New Zealand's target was adjusted to 176 runs and they staggered out of the blocks, losing opener Martin Guptill in the first over.

Seifert and Glenn Phillips followed before the seventh over, although Phillips smashed a valuable 22 runs off just seven balls, briefly dislocating his kneecap along the way.

Veteran Ross Taylor ran himself out for a duck and at 63/4, needing two runs a ball, the Blackcaps' chase appeared stuck in the mud, going nowhere.

But South African-born Devon Conway - making his international debut - and Neesham come together to bring momentum back New Zealand's way, combining for 77 runs in less than six overs.

When the newbie departed, Santner played the closer role to perfection, striking 31 runs off 18 balls, including three sixes - and the gamewinner - to support Neesham's assault.

The rivals will face off again for the second of three T20 matches at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval on Sunday.

Join us from 2pm Sunday for live updates of the second Blackcaps v West Indies T20