It's back to square one for New Zealand's cricketers who couldn't back up their Hamilton heroics in a 10-wicket thrashing by England in the Twenty20 series decider in Wellington.
Confident of showing they weren't one-hit wonders, before a healthy Westpac Stadium crowd of 20,238, they were ragged in all three disciplines as England cantered to a 2-1 series win.
England openers Alex Hales and Michael Lumb were devastating, knocking off their target of 140 in 12.4 overs.
Hales was dropped twice early before blasting 80 off 42 balls, including four sixes, while Lumb finished the match with his fifth six, off Ian Butler, in scoring 53 off 34.
And it's a quick turnaround for the three-match ODI series which opens in Hamilton on Sunday.
So impressive on Tuesday to set up a decider, New Zealand's nightmare performance in game one in Auckland returned to haunt them.
The hosts didn't bat well enough in a below-par 139-8, then with a paltry total to defend their bowlers tried too hard and the fielding again let them down.
Hamilton standout Butler had a night to forget. He had Hales dropped by Ross Taylor at slip when he leapt too early, then unleashed a verbal barrage at Hales before the opener had the last laugh.
Hales blasted three fours off Butler whose second over went for 23 and England were cruising at 57-0 off five.
Left-armer Mitchell McClenaghan opened with a maiden then Lumb cracked him for consecutive sixes. In the same over Hales skied one, Grant Elliott circled from deep square leg but captain Brendon McCullum got there first with the gloves and shelled it, colliding with his team-mate.
It got even worse as Hales, having roared past 50, went 6, 4, 6, 6 off McClenaghan in another 23-run over.
England skipper Stuart Broad made his smartest decision before a ball was bowled when he called correctly at the toss.
All four previous T20 internationals at the stadium had been won by the side batting second, and the skipper had blamed himself after the Hamilton defeat for getting it wrong when bowling first.
As he did in Auckland, Broad led the way on a drop-in pitch being used for the first time this summer, that none of the batsmen looked too comfortable on.
The highest total from four previous T20 internationals here was 162-8, by New Zealand against Sri Lanka in 2006.
Broad was too quick and bouncy for Hamish Rutherford's attempted hook, then Steven Finn got the ball to nip around and New Zealand's innings never got going despite Martin Guptill's 59 off 55 balls.
The towering 140kmh new ball pair went for 33 runs between them and Broad's 3-15 was outstanding, also removing Colin Munro and Guptill to short balls that hurried them up.
Then Jade Dernbach (3-36) and his clever variations strangled New Zealand at the death.
Brendon McCullum (26 off 20) looked in great nick before slogging out off spinner James Tredwell. Then former skipper Taylor's struggles continued despite a standing ovation on arrival, and a fan's banner: 'Taylor for Prime Minister'.
He clouted spinner Joe Root over the New Zealand dugout for six, third ball, then tried to repeat the shot and skied a simple catch.
Twenty-three runs from three comeback innings from their best batsman, and the worry lines will widen if Taylor can't get under way in the ODI series.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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