WELLINGTON - Record-breaking New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said a crushingly lopsided World Cup win over England in Wellington on Friday was a "bizarre" achievement.
The Black Caps cemented their status as one of the favourites for the tournament with a dominant display as they recorded their third straight victory in as many Pool A matches, with this fixture completed in 45.4 overs - fewer than half the scheduled maximum for a one-day international.
New Zealand paceman Tim Southee took seven for 33, the third-best World Cup figures of all-time, as England were bowled out for just 123.
McCullum then piled on the agony for England with the fastest-ever World Cup fifty, off just 18 balls, on his way to a whirlwind 77.
"It's a great win, while England have probably struggled of late, we knew we'd have to keep them quiet," McCullum said at the presentation ceremony.
As for man-of-the-match Southee's haul, McCullum added: "It's one of the best spells of bowling I've seen for a long time.
"Tim's been leading our group for a long time and with Trent Boult, he got the ball swinging a huge amount.
"To win by that sort of margin, it's bizarre really. We've earned ourselves a good break after a great first week of the tournament." Southee, roared on by a capacity 33,000 crowd at the Westpac Stadium, said: "A packed house was pretty special to come out in front of. We've been bowling well as a group for a long time and today was one of those moments when it all went well for us.
"Our bowling coach, Shane Bond, does a lot of work behind the scenes and puts confidence into us." For England, this was a second thumping loss in as many matches after they launched their World Cup campaign with a 111-run defeat by Australia, the other co-hosts, in Melbourne last weekend.
With non-Test nation Scotland next up, England captain Eoin Morgan was optimistic the worst was over for his battered team.
"I thought New Zealand bowled really well. Conditions suited them - it swung throughout our innings which was unexpected," he said.
"Our first two games were always going to be tough, we need a win as soon as possible now."