New Zealand were once again at their dominant best, recording their third win on the trot in the ongoing World Cup © Getty Images
New Zealand were once again at their dominant best, recording their third win on the trot in the ongoing World Cup © Getty Images

New Zealand trounced England by eight wickets with 37.4 overs to spare at Wellington and are sitting comfortably on the top of Pool A, while England are languishing at the bottom. It was a clinical all round performance by New Zealand and they are hot favourites to go all the way, if they weren’t already. Pramod Ananth lists a few highlights of the game

Tim Southee sends English openers back early: Southee started well for New Zealand as he sent both Ian Bell and Moeen Ali back to the pavilion early. Moeen was looking aggressive after Bell’s dismissal but he got an unplayable yorker that any batsman in the world would probably have found difficult to keep it out. Bell, too, was dismissed by an absolute peach.  ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: POINTS TABLE

Moeen’s three back-to-back boundaries: Moeen was looking to play aggressive, counterattacking cricket after Bell’s dismissal. He hit three boundaries of consecutive deliveries off Southee in England’s fifth over. Southee went on to make a strong comeback as he dismissed Moeen in his very next over.

Eoin Morgan fails again: England captain was in tremendous pressure to perform well in this match after getting out for a duck in the previous two competitive games. He was involved in a decent 47-run stand with Joe Root for the fourth wicket. His 41-ball 17 involved just a boundary and he played an irresponsible shot trying to hit Daniel Vettori over the top and was caught in the deep, courtesy a brilliant catch by Adam Milne. That wicket proved vital as England collapsed to a meek score from there.

England collapse: From 103 for three, England were bundled out for just 123 in the 34th over. The wicket of Morgan was crucial as it opened the floodgates and wickets just kept on falling after that. James Taylor, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes could not offer much resistance after that as Tim Southee walked over the English batsmen one after the other.

Joe Root’s gritty knock: Root came into bat when England were 36 for two in the seventh over. He tried to get his eye in and his partnership with Morgan made him feel more confident. He slowly started playing his shots. But, after Morgan departed, wickets started falling in a hurry at the other end. Root also did not get much of the strike in the latter stages of the innings. Root made 46 from 70 deliveries and was the last man dismissed. Had someone hung around with him, the tale of the match could have been different. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: SCHEDULE & MATCH DETAILS

Tim Southee’s career-best figures: Southee probably had the best match of his career today. He troubled every batsman and was accurate with his yorkers and away swingers. He dismissed the openers within the opening seven overs and came back to haunt other batsmen later in the innings. He finished with figures of seven for 33, which are not only the best figures for a New Zealand bowler, but is also the third-best figures by a bowler in World Cups, for which he was adjudged Man of the Match.

Brendon McCullum scores fastest fifty in World Cups: McCullum seemed like he was in a hurry to finish the match very early. Since England were dismissed in the 34th over, there was time for nine overs to be bowled. McCullum opened the innings with Martin Guptill and he went after the bowling right from the first ball he faced. He targeted James Anderson and Stuart Broad, but took a special liking to Steven Finn.  He got to 50 in 18 balls breaking his own record for the fastest 50 in World Cup Cricket — one of  20 balls.

Steven Finn’s abysmal spell: Finn perhaps had the worst spell of his career as he was hit to all parts of the ground. He conceded 49 runs in two overs, with McCullum hitting the fast bowler for a six on six occasions, including four consecutive sixes of Finn’s second over. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

Chris Woakes’ two quick wickets: Woakes dismissed McCullum just before lunch and followed it up with another wicket, that of Martin Guptill, on the other side of the interval. Woakes was the only highlight for England in an otherwise ordinary day in the office.

New Zealand won by eight wickets with 37.4 overs to spare: New Zealand cruised home and are right on top of Pool A, courtesy a comprehensive performance. They were brilliant with the ball, excellent with the bat and impressive on the field. The result of the match was never in doubt after every department clicked beautifully. New Zealand now have a foot in the quarter-final.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)