Wellington, New Zealand: Brendon McCullum made the fastest 50 in a Cricket World Cup match and Tim Southee took 7-33 in the most destructive spell in New Zealand's limited-overs history as the tournament co-hosts crushed England by eight wickets on Friday.
Southee hurried England out for 123 in 33.2 overs, then McCullum made the embarrassment deeper when he smashed 77 from 25 balls, reaching a half century from 18 deliveries — the third fastest in the history of one-day internationals after A.B. de Villiers (16 balls) and Shahid Afridi (17).
Southee's devastating second spell, when he took 5-10 in four overs, and McCullum's ruthless onslaught saw New Zealand complete its third straight win in Pool A within seven days. It won with 37.4 overs to spare, before the floodlights had been turned on in the day-night match.
No victory against a top team in New Zealand's ODI history has been more comprehensive or executed with more callous efficiency.
It was hard to recall, amid the drama of falling wickets and the excitement of McCullum's batting, that England's captain Eoin Morgan had actually chosen to bat on winning the toss, the single moment of success in England's humbling afternoon. Morgan bore the appearance of a haunted man by the end of a match which made England's opening 111-run defeat to Australia seem gentle by comparison.
"I feel disappointment more than anything," he said. "With the benefit of hindsight I wouldn't have ... batted (first) if I knew it was going to swing for that long."
He gave New Zealand credit, though, for "one of the best bowling displays we've come across since we've been down this side of the world."
Southee began a record-breaking day with the ball: he beat his own best ODI return of 5-33, then went on the surpass Shane Bond's 6-23 (against India) to produce the best bowling return by a New Zealander in the 50-over format.
He described New Zealand's game as "an almost perfect performance" and his own as "one of those days when I couldn't do anything wrong."
"We haven't swung the ball like that in a one-day game for a while and for the old ball to swing like that was the difference," Southee said. "It's a blur at the moment but in time this will be something we all look back on and realize how amazing this occasion was."
To prove it wasn't the pitch playing tricks on the batsmen, McCullum went out and beat his own record for the fastest 50 in a World Cup innings - which stood at 20 balls and was achieved against Canada eight years ago. He beat his own record for the fastest international 50 by a New Zealander.
McCullum didn't just dominate but devoured the England bowling, hitting eight fours and seven sixes, taking 18 runs from Stuart Broad's first over and 49 runs from two overs bowled by Steve Finn.
When the scheduled innings break was finally due, New Zealand was already 112-1 after 47 minutes and needed only 12 to win. The crowd of 33,000 — also an ODI record for Wellington — booed loudly when the umpires decided lunch should be taken.
By means of comparison, New Zealand raced to its collective half century from 22 balls in 20 minutes: England had taken almost three times as long. The New Zealanders went on to 100 from 40 balls; England crept to the same mark in the 24th over and from 147 deliveries, just before its innings went into a chaotic downturn.
Morgan was out for 17 when England was 104-4 in the 27th over, having batted for 51 minutes and faced 41 balls which did little to alleviate his batting slump or the personal ordeal this tournament has become.
He'd barely left the field when James Taylor - England's best batsman with 98 in its loss to Australia - was bowled by Southee for 0. That sparked the last unraveling of the innings.
Jos Buttler (3) followed Taylor, Chris Woakes (1) was bowled three balls later, Stuart Broad went for 4 and Steve Finn for 0 as England's last seven wickets fell for 19 runs.
For the second time in consecutive matches — after bowling out Scotland for 142 on Tuesday — New Zealand had to bat well before the scheduled innings break. While it lost seven wickets in completing the run chase against Scotland, McCullum ensured there was no such difficulty on Friday.