The mood of the fans was light and so was the ground as Bay Oval's first artificially-lit international got under way last night .
Fold-up chairs and chilly bins in hand, the steady stream of people walking into the ground stretched back more than 1km along Totara St back to Triton Ave.
Black Caps fans were easy to spot, wearing the confidence of a team expected to make a clean sweep after racking up seven wins against the West Indies in their summer tour of New Zealand.
Last night was game two of three Twenty20 matches, to be followed by game three at Bay Oval tomorrow.
Organisers were expecting a near-capacity crowd of 9000 for the New Years Day match, with few tickets remaining in the last hour before the match began at 7pm.
Bay Oval manager Kelvin Jones said the later start time afforded by the oval's new world-class LED lights might have made a difference to those recovering from a big New Year's Eve.
That was not the case for everyone - Papamoa Black Caps fan Cathi Fourie said she had 12 in their early 20s at home who had been "all geared up to come yesterday but today decided they couldn't".
Husband Leon Fourie, Toi-Ohomai chief executive, was not alone in predicting "another whitewash" by the Black Caps.
They were watching the game with the Roux family from Otumoetai. Twelve-year-old Jean Roux - a Western Bay representative cricket player - was still buzzing from having the opportunity to train with the Windies on Sunday.
There was plenty of praise from local fans for the oval's new lights. Mount Maunganui local of 45 years Terry Hurdle said they were "bloody awesome".
The game was a long time coming for London-based Kiwis Maree Hohaia and Phillip Glenn, who hatched a plan to attend the game with Rotorua mates Jo Gradwell and Colin Elstob during their UK visit over winter.
"It's what Kiwis do in summer," former cricket umpire Elstob said, "They go to the cricket."