A record-breaking day from Martin Guptill earned New Zealand another one-day trophy on English soil with an 86-run victory at the Ageas Bowl. Less than 48 hours after leading his side home at Lord's, Guptill plundered New Zealand's highest individual one-day innings with a monumental, unbeaten 189 which left England shell-shocked and reflecting on their first home ODI series loss since 2009.
Guptill, who went past the previous individual mark of 172 by Lou Vincent against Zimbabwe during the penultimate over of the innings, provided more than half of New Zealand's overwhelming total of 359 for 3 - the second-highest conceded by England after the 387 for 5 in Rajkot in 2006. Agonisingly for England, like at Lord's, they offered him a life on 13, when Jonathan Trott - who later scored a 98-ball hundred - spilled a relatively straightforward catch at midwicket, although it proved more costly than anyone could have imagined.
The final 10 overs of New Zealand's innings were carnage, costing 132 runs, as Guptill and Brendon McCullum brought up their hundred stand - the third of the innings - in just 45 deliveries as England's bowling was scattered to all corners. Guptill's hundred had come off 111 deliveries; the final 44 balls of his stay brought 89 runs and six of the last seven deliveries he faced went for four.
He equalled Viv Richards' 189 at Old Trafford in 1984 as the highest innings against England in an ODI and Guptill's two hundreds in three days was also a repeat of the feat achieved by Mark Greatbatch, the only other New Zealand batsman to score a one-day ton in England, when he notched back-to-back landmarks in 1990.
Two partnerships formed the bedrock of the New Zealand innings which allowed the later onslaught: Guptill and Kane Williamson added 120 for the second wicket, then Ross Taylor joined in a third-wicket alliance worth 109 in 17 overs as the innings accelerated. Not that Taylor's departure slowed things down as Guptill and McCullum ensured mayhem in the closing overs.
Apart from James Anderson first spell, England's bowling was disappointing throughout, occasionally verging on woeful, albeit on the best batting surface of the international season so far, coupled with a lightning fast outfield. Jade Dernbach's 10-over spell for 87 was the fourth-most expensive return by an England bowler in an ODI.
Anderson, whose two scalps put him level with Darren Gough as England's leading ODI wicket-taker, made a deceptive early breakthrough for England by knocking back Luke Ronchi's middle stump to continue his lean start with the bat. Tim Bresnan, who is waiting on news of his heavily pregnant wife, was also economical with the new ball as England kept control during the first Powerplay; New Zealand were 36 for 1. It added further heady context to what happened during the rest of the innings.
Woakes, after suffering the dropped catch off his bowling for the second time in three days, sent down another expensive opening spell which cost 29 as New Zealand's second-wicket pair increased the tempo. Both Guptill and Williamson timed the ball beautifully square of the wicket particularly off the back foot.
Joe Root was the first spin option used by England and when Graeme Swann was introduced his first ball was crunched through cover by Guptill. They continued to milk him for a run-a-ball.
Williamson, who fell for a duck two days ago, completed an unfussy half-century off 59 balls, his tally of three fours highlighting the efficient running which kept the pressure firmly on England - a point hammered home when Guptill dismissively pulled Woakes for six off the front foot - before Williamson bottom-edged a pull off Swann into his stumps.
Taylor took time to play himself in; he used 28 balls to reach 21, then clubbed 39 off his next 26 deliveries which included two sixes, one from a full toss by Bresnan, then a second with a trademark bottom-hand flick against Anderson. He fell next ball attempting a repeat but the damage had only just started for England's bowlers.
With the quality of the pitch, speed of the outfield and new fielding restrictions it was not beyond the realms of possibility that England could have made a decent stab at creating history themselves. But, with the exception of Trott who made his fourth one-day hundred 13 balls quicker than it took Guptill, the top order continued in the wasteful vain they had shown at Lord's with four of the top five falling between 21 and 34.
Alastair Cook had collected five crisp boundaries before losing his middle stump to Kyle Mills; Ian Bell's frustrating season continued when he spliced a drive to mid-off; Root picked out long-on and Eoin Morgan, a player capable of matching the pyrotechnics of Guptill and McCullum, swiped across the line in Grant Elliott's first over to feather an edge to Ronchi.
Although the match was always under New Zealand's control during the chase, McCullum's proactive captaincy was again to be admired. Elliott taking a wicket in his first over owed plenty to good fortune, but it also needed the captain to delve into the options he had available and pace off the ball is rarely a bad ploy to England's middle order. Neither did he let the game drift, immediately recalling the sharp Mitchell McClenaghan when Morgan and Jos Buttler came to the crease; at Lord's the reward was Morgan's wicket, here Buttler drove McClenaghan's first ball back to short cover.
Trott, who received a huge cheer when he straight-drove James Franklin for his third six in ODIs, played the anchor role that he is made for but it was a forlorn effort as the strokemakers departed around him. Although this is their first home series defeat under Cook, with the Champions Trophy just days away there is much to ponder for England who are struggling to cover for the absence of Stuart Broad and Steven Finn and whose strengths appear somewhat nullified on flat pitches when the sun comes out. New Zealand, on the other hand, have looked a world away from the No. 8-ranked ODI side.