In the fourth ODI, New Zealand were two for two before Ross Taylor saved the day with his unbeaten 181.
England team celebrates the series win.
Altogether, the flame-haired Yorkshireman struck nine fours and six sixes before being out hit-wicket as he attempted another aggressive shot against Trent Boult.
Hales was the second wicket to fall when England were on 177 and just 47 runs short of victory.
Having been put into bat, New Zealand suffered a huge early blow when Munro went for a duck with the third ball of the match.
Hales, playing for the first time in the series in the absence of Jason Roy who was suffering back spasms, grabbed his chance and, after patiently supporting Bairstow, went on to his 12th ODI half century before falling for 61 from 74 balls.
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The first Test between South Africa and Australia in Durban saw the visitors complete a 118-run victory.
England were now 177 for two, and needed just 32 when Morgan fell to a fine De Grandhomme catch in the deep off Sodhi.
A previously-out-of-form Nicholls made a restorative 50 before becoming Tom Curran's first wicket.
England were lax at times in the field, with Moeen dropping Santner on 57, but they improved in the final overs.
They delivered all that could reasonably be expected, putting on 84, Nicholls with a 73-ball half-century on his home ground and Santner capping his remarkable series from number eight with a new career-best. Mitchell Santner scored 67 runs highest in 71 balls.
While the Black Caps end this series wth questions over their batting line-up, England's bowling attack looks secure. Besides, team England is now travelling Australia and New Zealand for long and so, they have already familiar with the environment.
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"The disappointing thing was too many soft dismissals through that middle order", Williamson said. They have lost series deciders such as this before - Old Trafford in 2015 and Cape Town in 2016 come to mind - and given their record at global events, any sort of knockout contest is likely to fray English nerves. "No bowler was been able to contain him".
NZ XI (two-day red ball match; March 16-17): Martin Guptill (captain), Worker, Glenn Phillips, Ross Taylor, Mark Chapman, Blundell, Tim Seifert, Kuggeleijn, Doug Bracewell, Logan van Beek, Rance, Sodhi.
"We really did create opportunities by building pressure, and our two spinners really did take advantage of a little bit of turn", he said.
"It would be fair to say that my focus hasn't been on four-day cricket this season and my passion for that format of the game isn't what it once was", Munro said via New Zealand Cricket's official website.
"If you only have five options that means you've got to drop another bowler and in the one-day game, almost every game, there is always someone for who it doesn't go as well as they'd like so it is always good to have that sixth option".
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