Cricket World Cup co-hosts New Zealand outclassed England today to record their third consecutive win at the tournament in Wellington.
New Zealand, after beating Sri Lanka and Scotland in their opening fixtures of the 50 over tournament, have emerged as one of the favourites and attempted to put England under pressure, despite losing the toss and being asked to bowl first.
On a wicket that appeared a prime surface for batting, England's top order, under much scrutiny following mixed performances in warm up matches followed by an opening defeat to Australia, were looking to prove critics wrong.
But New Zealand's Tim Southee was able clean bowl England's opening batsmen Ian Bell and Moeen Ali in the fifth and seventh overs of the match, and put his team firmly in control of the match.
The new men at the crease Gary Ballance and Joe Root attempted to steady the England ship and put them on course for a competitive total but an ill-advised pull shot from Ballance saw him caught off the bowling of Trent Boult.
His captain Eoin Morgan, under pressure prior match due his lack of runs, nervously held off the New Zealand bowlers for 40 balls, scoring 17 runs, but was seen off by a superb diving catch from Adam Milne to continue Morgan's woes with the bat and leave England's remaining batsmen exposed on 104-4.
Southee buoyed by his early wickets began carving his way through the remaining England line-up, with James Taylor, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and Steve Finn all falling to his bowling, with the five men contributing just five runs to England's total.
His devastating spell of bowling saw England collapse from 104-4 to 117-9, with the only England resistance coming from Root, but his dismissal ended the innings, with the Yorkshire batsman scoring 46 of England's total of 123 runs.
Southee's seven wickets saw him become only the fourth man to end a World Cup match with seven wickets, alongside Glenn McGrath, Andy Bichel and Winston Davis.
Having made light work of the England's batting line-up, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum turned his attentions to their bowlers, as he scored more than any English batsman after just five overs, racing to the ever half-century in World Cup history off just 18 balls.
He continued to apply the pressure as he steered his side towards the target, before being bowled by Woakes on 77, but he departed with score at 105, leaving his side just 19 more runs to win.
Despite another Woakes wicket, New Zealand continued to cruise to the total and completed a win by eight wickets, with their third victory in a row seeing them occupy top spot in Pool A, while England are left bottom from their opening two matches after an abject display.
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