DUBAI: New Zealand captain Tim Southee is happy with the tough challenge his team faced in the United Arab Emirates before eking out a 2-1 series victory on Sunday. The tourists, missing several frontline players, escaped to victory in the opener but were stunned in the second T20 match with UAE registering their first win against New Zealand in any format. New Zealand put up an improved display in Sunday’s decider when Will Young smashed 56 in his first match of the series and Mark Chapman made 51 to help them post 166-5. The hosts managed 134-7, with Ben Lister claiming 3-35 for New Zealand in what Southee called their “best performance of the series”. “We expected a tough challenge in these conditions,” Southee said referring to the heat after they prevailed by 32 runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. “As I said at the start of the series, they’re a growing side, they’re ever-improving and we saw that throughout the series they played extremely well in those first two games. “We were able to build a partnership there with Chapman and Will Young – someone who came in after the first two games – so that was pleasing.” New Zealand will travel to England later this month to play four T20 and as many one-day internationals before heading to India for the ODI World Cup in October-November.