Brendon McCullum recorded the World Cup’s fastest fifty, off just 18 balls, after Tim Southee wrecked havoc with a seven-wicket haul as New Zealand cruised to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over England in a Pool A match of the quadrennial extravaganza here today.
Opting to bat after winning the toss at the Westpack Stadium, England were bowled out for a paltry 123 with fast bowler Southee returning figures of 7 for 33, the third best in World Cup history after Glenn McGrath and Andy Bichell.
In reply, New Zealand completed the formality in just 12.2 overs with McCullum blasting his way to a 25-ball 77, the batsman reaching his half-century in just 18 balls to set a new record in the showpiece event.
Skipper McCullum’s whirlwind half-century featured seven fours and four sixes as New Zealand chased down the modest target with ease. In all, he hit eight boundaries and seven sixes.
The opener eclipsed his own World Cup record when he smashed pacer Steven Finn for a six, having made a fifty off 20 balls against Canada in the 2007 edition in the West Indies.
His innings was also the equal third-fastest fifty in all One-day Internationals, behind South Africa’s A B de Villiers (16 balls) and Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (17 balls).
McCullum went on the rampage from the first ball and was especially severe on Finn, who was smashed for 49 runs in two overs.
McCullum had only three singles in the entire innings with the remaining 74 coming in boundaries. His assault included four consecutive sixes off Finn, which saw him reach the milestone.
McCullum plundered Finn for 44 runs from his 10 balls, which included two fours and six sixes.