Glamorgan defeated Worcestershire by seven wickets
Worcestershire headed for Cardiff last night looking for a bit of Kiwi fireworks - and, sure enough, they got them.
But, instead of their own hard-hitting new boy, Lou Vincent, taking the spotlight, his New Zealand international team-mate Brendon McCullum proved the star turn.
Glamorgan's latest signing has come to England, as has Vincent, as a stand-in for the next month. But McCullum stole centre stage last night, smashing a breathtaking 63 which transformed a potential winning score for Worcestershire into a fairly routine seven-wicket win for the Welshmen with five balls to spare.
Defeat for Worcestershire in their first Twenty20 outing of the season was certainly not the way to start a campaign soured earlier in the day by skipper Vikram Solanki's latest summons for England duty.
But Worcestershire - and Vincent, in particular - can only hope to find better form when they go to Bristol for their second game tomorrow night.
Vincent's Twenty20 debut in this country lasted just eight balls, two of which went for four, before he miscued to mid-off. Ben Smith made even more of a dramatic impact, hitting three of his first five deliveries to the boundary before swatting the sixth down long leg David Hemp's throat.
Graeme Hick then took control, looking in vintage form as he hit five fours and a six and a host of other attractive strokes aside in his 37 from 23 balls. It was a relief for the home fans when he holed out to the midwicket boundary in the ninth over off Robert Croft.
Stephen Moore then spooned a poor shot to square leg for 21, but that let in stand-in skipper Gareth Batty, who thumped five fours in his 35 off 21 balls and did most to push the score to 163 - a competitive total and certainly above average for Worcestershire in this competition.
The visitors made a great start when Zaheer Khan, disappointed not to get an lbw decision against Richard Grant, made no mistake next ball, making a mess of the youngster's stumps with a yorker. But that was where it all went wrong for Worcestershire, as it let in McCullum.
The 50 was up in the fourth over, 40 of them coming off Matt Mason, while McCullum's own half-century did not take a great deal longer, secured in just 18 balls, over half of which went to the boundary. It wasn't quite up to the standard of Andrew Symonds' competition record of 50 in 14 balls, but it was pretty devastating, nonetheless.
After five overs, Glamorgan were on 71, with the game as good as won. The only disappointment for a decent home crowd was seeing the fun eventually stopped, as McCullum did not quite get to grips with the slow left-arm spin of Ray Price and picked out Smith on the midwicket boundary. His 63 had come off just 26 deliveries, of which he hit eight for four and three straight sixes off Mason.
Michael Powell, becalmed at the other end for most of McCullum's mauling, then took over the assault, hitting 54 from 40 balls before he too was caught off Price at midwicket by Smith in the 13th over.
Price maintained his hold to finish with the admirable figures of two for 13, the second-most economical figures for a Worcestershire bowler in this competition, bettered only by, of all people, Shoaib Akhtar.
But even the Zimbabwean spinner's efforts were never going to be enough as Warwickshire old boy Hemp and Nicky Peng calmly saw their side home.