But if this was a litmus test to see how they might cope with the pressure of knockout matches when they host next year's World Cup, England came through it with flying colours, dominating this contest from start to finish to wrap up a sixth successive ODI series win.
The first brought up the century opening stand from 15.3 overs with Alex Hales, returning to the side for the first time since signing a white-ball only contract with Nottinghamshire, after Jason Roy pulled out with a back spasm.
New Zealand, sent in to bat, struggled to 223 with the last wicket falling on the penultimate ball and England knocked off their target in 32.4 overs with Ben Stokes finishing the match with a six.
Ross Taylor, who led New Zealand to victory in the fourth ODI, was ruled out with a reoccurrence of a thigh injury and his stability was missed as the hosts stuttered through their innings. For England, Chris Woakes took three wickets. In the end, it was Ben Stokes who finished with a couple of very big sixes off Ish Sodhi and stamped England's authority on what was a thoroughly competitive series barring the last game.
Taylor hit a six off Woakes in the 48th over, then New Zealand reached the 49th over needing 13 from 12 balls.
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After the first four ODIs, which had the series level at 2-2, England had the New Zealand batsmen well worked out. Woakes removed Colin Munro for his second duck in a row before Mark Wood's patented leap across and angled delivery into the right-hander did for Blackcaps skipper Kane Williamson.
Once opener Martin Guptill fell for 47, New Zealand looked close to subsiding.
They had fortunate escapes with record fourth-wicket partnerships between Ross Taylor and Tom Latham in the victories at Hamilton and Dunedin.
Once New Zealand slumped to 93-6, only one result appeared possible.
Santner - who reached fifty from 60 balls after being dropped by Ali on 58 - was caught smartly by Hales at deep midwicket but Bairstow outdid his opening partner from the next legal ball Woakes bowled, running round the boundary to take a superb one-handed grab to remove Southee.
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However, with one eye on the two-match Test series between the teams, which begins this month, New Zealand have opted not to risk Taylor's fitness. Nicholls hit Root's off-spin for six but he top-edged Tom Curran to short leg at an inopportune moment.
Nicholls struck an intelligent 55 from 81 balls, while Santner top-scored with a crucial 67 off 71 before he was dismissed early in the second-last over.
"The disappointing thing was too many soft dismissals through that middle order", Williamson said. "It was a brilliant innings by Jonny - hitting the ball cleanly like he has all series".
England's domination began at the start of the day when Morgan won the toss and elected to bowl.
Speaking after play at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch Morgan said: "Our bowlers really set the tone".
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