Southee swings England to defeat

A supremely skilful display of swing bowling from Tim Southee decimated England's batting line-up in Wellington to set up a comprehensive eight-wicket victory for New Zealand.

Brendon McCullum then blazed the fastest ever World Cup fifty off just 18 balls to hasten the hosts to victory. They chased down their derisory target of 124 off just 12.2 overs to vastly improve their net run rate and leave England's at a scarcely believable -3.952.

McCullum was quite simply at his brutal best, advancing down the pitch to take on the bowlers and then launching them over the off-side almost at will. Steven Finn came in for particularly harsh treatment, conceding an eye-watering 49 runs from two overs before Chris Woakes ended the New Zealand skipper's fun with a high full-toss when he was on 77 off 25 deliveries.

The match had really been won earlier in the day by Southee. He bowled an incredibly full length and found enough swing to clean-bowl both Ian Bell and Moeen Ali in his opening spell. He then returned with a slightly older ball, continued to find swing, and scotched any hopes of an England recovery by running through the lower-order to end with incredible figures of seven for 33 from nine overs.

"It was a pretty amazing day when you think back on it. Almost the perfect performance," Southee said after the match, quoted on ESPN's Cricinfo. "We'll have a couple of beers in the change room - it will settle in what we have done today. It was a bit of a blur. I think it's something we'll all look back on in time and think of how amazing this occasion was. A full house, it an amazing feeling having that many people behind you and I think that's testament to the brand of cricket we're playing. It's getting people through the gates.

"I did nothing different. It was just one of those days where you can't do anything wrong. You just keep going and going. It was a bit of a blur at the time. It will be something I personally look back on in time and probably realise how special it is."

Special it indeed was and England will be aware that part of the reason for their demise was a wonderful display of swing bowling. However, that should not mask their shortcomings. Captain Eoin Morgan again failed in falling for 17, with Joe Root, comfortably top-scoring with 46, the only man to deal with Southee for any period of time.

They will have to pick themselves up quickly as they now face what is pretty much a must-win game against Scotland on Monday in Christchurch. New Zealand, meanwhile, with three wins out of three sit top of Pool A and have plenty of time to celebrate before a mouth-watering clash against Australia in front of what promises to be an equally supportive home crowd in Auckland on 28th February.

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