Aaron Redmond returned to international cricket with a blistering 30-ball 63 as New Zealand spanked minnows Ireland by 83 runs in their first Super Eight match of the Twenty20 World Cup in Nottingham on Thursday.
The Kiwis, riding on Redmond's flourishing start, first rattled up a healthy 198 for five and then skittled out the hapless Irishmen for 115 in 16.4 overs in what turned out to be a lop-sided contest at Trent Bridge.
Andre Botha (28) and opener Gary Wilson (23) were the only Irish players who could hang around for some time, most of the other batsmen folding up without much of a fight.
Nathan McCullum (3-15) and Kyle Mills (2-12) were the pick of the Kiwi bowlers.
New Zealand went into their Group F Super Eight match without the services of three of their top players captain Daniel Vettori, Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder -- but it hardly mattered.
Redmond, a late replacement for injured Ryder, grabbed the opportunity with both hands with a stunning display of strokeplay on what appeared to be a good batting track.
Martin Guptill (45 not out) and the experienced Scot Styris (42) were New Zealand's other notable performers.
They take on Pakistan in their next Super Eight match in London on Saturday while Ireland clash with Sri Lanka at Lord's the same day.
Put into bat, the Kiwis got off to a flourishing start, with Redmond producing an array of strokes to rattle the Irish bowlers, who gave away 32 runs in the first two overs.
Redmond was particularly severe on the pacers who lacked control in the early stages of the contest. While he plundered runs at will, stand-in captain Brendon McCullum was a lot more subdued, quite content in allowing his partner to hog the limelight.
Redmond, playing international cricket after a long gap, made his intentions clear by clobbering the first ball he faced from Peter Connell to the boundary. He was more ruthless in the second over, hitting a few more boundaries off Trent Johnston.
The opening pair put on a brisk 51 runs for the first wicket before spinner Kyle McCallan provided the breakthrough by evicting the dangerous McCullum.
McCullum, who was showing signs of cutting loose by hitting a six in the previous over, offered a simple catch to Regan West in the cover region.
Martin Guptill and Redmond kept the tempo going with a barrage of strokes on both sides of the wicket to torment the Irish players who had no clue how to stop the run flow.
Redmond's aggression came to an end when he was trapped in front of the wicket by Alex Cusack as the Kiwis lost their second wicket at 91 in 9.3 overs. His 30-ball 63 was studded with 13 boundaries.
Guptill took over the scoring responsibility for some time after Redmond's departure before Scot Styris produced a cameo to push the scoring rate even more.
McCallan plotted the dismissal of Styris who offered a catch to O'Brien in the deep, his 25-ball 42 containing one six and three boundaries.
The lanky Jacob Oram scored 15 off seven balls before returning to the pavilion while Peter McGlashan (5) also could not hang around for long as he tried to accelerate the pace of scoring.