Fast bowler Plunkett dismissed New Zealand captain and star batsman Kane Williamson for just 30 before removing established opener Henry Nicholls for an innings-best 55 in a return of 3-42 from his 10 overs
Liam Plunkett took three key wickets as England restricted New Zealand to 241-8 in the World Cup final at Lord's on Sunday, with both sides desperate to win the tournament for the first time.
Fast bowler Plunkett dismissed New Zealand captain and star batsman Kane Williamson for just 30 before removing established opener Henry Nicholls for an innings-best 55 in a return of 3-42 from his 10 overs.
Chris Woakes followed up with 3-37.
New Zealand, however, successfully defended a total of 239 in their shock semi-final win over India, when they reduced one of the world's strongest batting line-ups to 24-4.
"Sometimes it doesn't feel real, it's nice to be part of this occasion," said Plunkett. "It's a good pitch, we bowled well to restrict them.
"It's nice to know my role. I smash the pitch and use my variations, make the batsmen make mistakes. We would have snapped your hand off to be chasing 240, New Zealand are a good team."
Williamson, as he had done against India, batted first after winning the toss in overcast conditions and on a green pitch.
Nicholls was still on nought when given out lbw to Woakes but successfully reviewed umpire Kumar Dharmasena's decision.
Fellow opener Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, hit fast bowler Jofra Archer for two boundaries in three balls -- an uppercut six over third man followed by a straight drive back over the paceman's head.
Guptill has struggled at this tournament, however, and on 19 he was lbw to Woakes. He reviewed but was walking back to the pavilion even before replays confirmed the ball would have smashed into his middle stump.
It left number three Williamson, who started the match with 548 runs in the tournament at an average of 91.33, having to mount yet another rescue mission.
But after putting on 74 for the second wicket with Nicholls, he fell when he edged a rising cross-seamer from Plunkett to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Dharmasena initially said not out but an England review confirmed the end of Williamson's 53-ball innings, which featured just two fours.
New Zealand found themselves 118-3 when Plunkett struck for the second time in 14 balls.
Nicholls, who had completed a 71-ball fifty, fell for 55 when he played on after being cramped for room by a Plunkett delivery that curved back into him.
New Zealand were now looking to senior batsman Taylor to bail them out of trouble but he could only manage 15 before falling lbw to Wood.
When Jimmy Neesham (19) chipped Plunkett to Joe Root at mid-on, the Black Caps were 173-5 with 11 overs left.
Tom Latham defiantly hit Wood for six but Colin de Grandhomme, who top-edged a hook off Archer into his helmet, took 28 balls for a 16 that finished when he chipped a Woakes slower ball mid-off.
Latham's 47 off 56 balls ended when he chipped a low Woakes full toss to mid-off.
England have been in the final three times while New Zealand were beaten finalists in 2015.