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Southee, McCullum puzzle England

England’s World Cup kept getting worse as they were drubbed by hosts New Zealand on the back of a record breaking performance from Tim Southee and Brendon McCullum – who slammed the fastest World Cup half century.

England had begun their campaign with a 111 run trouncing from Australia and at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, they had an opportunity to restore pride. But they were handed an eight-wicket crushing by the hosts after Southee recorded the best one-day figures by a New Zealander and McCullum blasted 25 off 77.

 

It was New Zealand’s third consecutive victory which solidified their position at the top of the table with six points from three matches. England are at the bottom of the seven-team Group ‘A’ behind Associate teams Afghanistan and Scotland. They now face a tough ask of lifting themselves above the points table with even an upset loss to any of the lower ranked teams threatening their quarter-final stake.

 

From a respectful position of 104-3, England succumbed to Southee fire power losing their last seven wickets for just 19 runs before they were skittled out for just 123 in 33.2 overs. New Zealand reached the target in just 74 balls with McCullum giving them a day to forget.

 

McCullum was particularly harsh on Steven Finn who has hit for 49 runs in the two overs he bowled in the match. Finn greeted McCullum in his first over with two six and two boundaries. He completed his half century from 18 balls lodging Finn for a six in his second over.

 

After completed the half century, McCullum hit Finn for three consecutive sixes in the same over that fetched New Zealand 29 runs. McCullum held the previous record for the fastest World Cup fifty, off 20 balls against Canada at St Lucia in 2007.

 

McCullum innings finally came to an end when Woakes bowled him in the eighth over and by that time New Zealand had already raced to 104 runs. Guptill was out to go off the same bowler for a run-a-ball 22. Kane Williamson (nine) and Ross Taylor (five) completed the formalities for the Black Caps.

 

Earlier, Southee took the first two wickets dismissing both openers Ian Bell (eight) and Moen Ali (20). Trent Boult soon removed Gary Balance (10) before embattling England skipper Eoin Morgan and Joe Root led a brief fight back.

 

Morgan, trying desperate to regain his form, was extra cautious as he hit just one boundary in the 41 balls he faced making 17 before losing his wicket to Daniel Vettori. Southee picked up the rest five wickets as England’s lower middle and tail order succumbed to his line and length.

 

Root was the last England batsman out for 46 off 70 with three boundaries. Adam Milne dismissed the No 4 batsman caught by Vettori. He took his final five wickets in the space of just 18 balls to record the third best figures in all World Cups behind the Australian duo of Glenn McGrath (7-15) and Andy Bichel (7-20).

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