'Almost the perfect performance' - Southee
Tim Southee bowled seven outswingers in his opening over at the Regional Stadium in Wellington; the extra delivery was because one had been harshly called wide. Ian Bell let six of them go through to the wicketkeeper, and the one he did push at he edged with soft hands well short of the slip cordon. That Southee didn't make Bell play enough was the only minor fault of that first over. Once he adjusted his line closer to the batsman, he was dynamite.
Bell was bowled as he tried to get beside the line to drive through the off side. Southee simply bent it past his outside edge to hit the top of off stump. Moeen Ali was not dismissed by the short ball this time but he was certainly set up by one. He stayed back to the inswinging yorker a couple of deliveries later and was bowled too.
Southee then returned with the older ball in the 27th over to break England's back. This time an outswinging yorker seared past James Taylor's bat to hit off stump, and then a series of outswingers were simply too good for England's lower order. The carnage finished with Southee taking 7 for 33, the best ODI figures for a New Zealand bowler, as England were dismissed for 123.
Southee had a slightly dazed looked as he was asked about New Zealand's phenomenal performance. Perhaps the rousing chants of his name by the 30,000-plus crowd reverberating inside the Cake Tin's silver walls were still ringing his ears.
"It was a pretty amazing day when you think back on it. Almost the perfect performance," he said. "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."
England's captain Eoin Morgan said he was surprised that the ball had swung right through the innings, and that he wouldn't have bowled in hindsight. Southee also said that it had been a while since the old white ball moved in New Zealand, and that was the gamechanger.
"Myself and Trent [Boult], we do thrive when it does swing and we've seen how dangerous we can be when it is swinging," Southee said. "It hasn't really swung a hell of a lot in one-day cricket for a while so it was pleasing to swing an old - well not too old [England were dismissed in 33.2 overs] - ball that was past ten overs old. I guess the gift we've had is good wrists.
"There wasn't a hell of a lot in the pitch. At the toss it looked a good batting wicket but we managed to get it swinging, and if anyone can get it swinging then it's a different ball game. We got it in the right areas and we created a lot of pressure throughout the innings."
Right areas is a clichéd term in cricket but the size of that area shrinks when Southee is attacking with several catchers - four slips, a gully and once close either on off or leg side at one point - in place. Err a little in line or length and there are vast empty areas for a batsman to hit the ball through or into.
"We went out there - losing the toss - we wanted to be aggressive and I think you saw that in the field Brendon set and to grab those couple of early wickets was important. It kept the pressure on and we kept chipping away as the innings went on.
"With attacking fields, if you do stray from your areas you will get hurt. I guess that's the ability of our bowlers, to have those attacking fields and still deny the batsmen the boundaries and still look to take wickets. It's a credit to the bowlers."
Southee took the New Zealand ODI record from his bowling coach Shane Bond, whom he credited significantly for the development of the attack. "He takes a lot of pride out of seeing the bowlers do well," Southee said. "He's been instrumental in the way the bowlers have performed for a couple of years now. It is going to be sad once he goes, he's done a great job, we are all better bowlers for his input."
As special as the atmosphere was in Wellington today, the likelihood is that New Zealand will enjoy a larger crowd when they face Australia in Auckland on February 28. It's an environment that can be daunting for some, but Southee said it was what professional athlete should thrive on.
"It's something you have to embrace," he said. "It's a little bit daunting going out there for some people that haven't played in front of those numbers and the noise, that can get to you. I think you've got to enjoy and embrace it. It will go quickly and if you don't enjoy it, in time you'll probably kick yourself and look back on something that is so amazing. That atmosphere today is up there with the best we've played in front of as a New Zealand team."
Until Australia in Auckland, perhaps, which is shaping up as a clash between the two tournament favourites.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo