WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand paceman Tim Southee was still coming to terms with a "surreal" seven-wicket return on Friday that laid the platform for the Black Caps' crushing World Cup win over England in Wellington.
He recorded the best one-day international figures by a New Zealander with an impressive haul of seven for 33 - the third-best return in any World Cup - as England collapsed to just 123 all out in 33.2 overs at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum sealed the eight-wicket win with an 18-ball fifty - the quickest-ever at a World Cup - on his way to a blistering 77 as the co-hosts reached their meagre target of 124 in a mere 12.2 overs.
This was New Zealand's third win in as many Pool A matches and Southee, asked if his performance felt surreal, said: "Yeah, I think it will take a couple of days for what we have done today to settle in.
"It was a pretty good victory, and an amazing game to be part of," the 26-year-old paceman added.
"I guess a little surprised. They (England) are a quality side, and I'm sure they'll bounce back from this performance," said Southee after surpassing current bowling coach Shane Bond's previous New Zealand ODI record of six for 19 against India at Bulwayo in 2005.
Southee hailed an "almost perfect" New Zealand display that delighted a packed crowd at the 33,000 capacity "Cake Tin" ground.
"It all happened pretty quickly, so we didn't really have time to think about the backing, we just worried about the next ball," he said.
"It's such a cool crowd and having them behind you always helps," said Southee whose previous ODI best of five for 33, against Pakistan, came at the same venue in 2011.
At no stage did McCullum, unlike some captains, ease off in setting attacking fields and Southee thanked his skipper for giving him every chance to take wickets.
"I think we've seen over the last that he's an aggressive captain, and the way he plays cricket he's aggressive," he said.
"Knowing the captain's right behind you with his fields, I think it's an attitude we've prided ourselves on for a number of years now.
"I think we get it from Brendon himself, the way he throws himself around in the field. If he's doing that, it's a standard for the rest of the team to follow."
Southee also praised the work behind the scenes of former New Zealand fast bowler Bond. "He's been instrumental in, I guess, the way the bowlers have performed for a couple years now," he said.
But the swing bowler insisted complacency would not be an issue for his, despite their brilliant start to this World Cup.
"No one seems to get too far ahead of themselves. We'll enjoy today and and move on to the game next week (against Australia in Auckland on Feb 28).