A glorious day at the home of cricket contrasts the gloom enveloping New Zealand's World Cup prospects.
London turned on a scorching summer's day for the first Lord's meeting between Australia and New Zealand.
Unfortunately the Black Caps could not rise for the occasion, delivering an anticlimax on the grand stage.
New Zealand had Australia on the rack early, wilting in the searing heat at 92-5. It did not last, though, such a start proving a misleading teaser rather than offering any fact-based evidence they belong among this tournament's true contenders.
The Black Caps let that dominant position slip with three dropped catches and a lack of killer instinct proving costly. On a difficult surface they then meekly crumbled with the bat, as has been the case far too often already at this World Cup.
Like unsuccessfully chasing the ball down the 2.5 metre Lord's slope, a match that began so promisingly gradually moved beyond the Black Caps with each passing delivery.
Kiwis that arrived dressed in beige, grey or black shirts, a bottle of wine in one hand, hope in the back pocket, left deflated after witnessing another chance to qualify squandered.
An eighth ODI semifinal appearance remains probable but successive defeats now makes that juncture look increasingly New Zealand's lot.
Even that talk is premature. A third straight loss to England next Wednesday could reduce New Zealand's final four hopes to net run rate.
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Being rolled for 157 in the 44th over for an 86-run defeat certainly doesn't help that equation.
How quickly fortunes change. There was always a sense of exuberance surrounding New Zealand's unbeaten start that needed curbing.
These final heavyweight round robin contests promised to reveal true seedings. And, unfortunately, that is proving so.
Should New Zealand progress, Australia or India in the knockouts will be a daunting challenge.
The Black Caps could now feasibly end this World Cup having lost their last four games.
This chapter of trans-Tasman rivalry didn't provide anywhere near the drama of previous editions.
On a slow, worn wicket which offered variable bounce, batting was difficult but New Zealand made it more so. They never got going, or forced Australia to shift beyond third gear.
In the early evening Kane Williamson struck the first six of the game, in the 24th over of New Zealand's pursuit of 244.
Not long after, as the shadows encroached, Williamson guided Mitchell Starc to the keeper to end another rebuild job with Ross Taylor. And so the familiar story goes.
A skyrocketing run rate and the frustration of graft eventually claimed Taylor for 30 and when Colin de Grandhomme failed to clear the rope first ball, New Zealand's fate was sealed well before the setting sun.
By that point any uplifting euphoria around New Zealand's first World Cup hat-trick, Trent Boult delivering three perfect yorkers at the death, had long faded.
It was a grim finish, too. All anticipation and atmosphere sucked from cricket's great arena.
Disappointingly, New Zealand's two changes delivered little impact. Ish Sodhi's first ball googly gave hope of another attacking threat but he was then too short at times and only required for six overs, taking no wickets.
Henry Nicholls, finally promoted to open at Colin Munro's expense, hit successive boundaries off Starc but then lacked strike and fell strangled off the gloves attempting to hook Jason Behrendorff.
Once again, with Martin Guptill departing for 20 to Behrendorff's inswing, New Zealand's openers left it all to do. Tom Latham's struggles with bat and gloves also go on.
In the end a brilliant start and end to the bowling performance was ultimately overshadowed by the failure to bring strike weapons back to put the foot on the throat, and the limp batting response.
Lockie Ferguson's quick, aggressive short balls fired to remove Steve Smith and David Warner in the space of seven balls – the chorus of boos ringing as the pair walked past each other from the pavilion.
Jimmy Neesham claimed Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell, the latter to a superb caught and bowled, to continue the dominant opening. But New Zealand were then guilty of not taking chances, and letting the game meander away.
Mark Waugh labeled Guptill's left-handed grab to claim Smith the catch of the World Cup. It was certainly on par, if not better, than Ben Stokes earlier in the tournament, but one of few bright moments.
Other efforts were not so flash, either. Usman Khawaja was dropped twice – once by Guptill at slip, once by Latham– on his way to a defining 88 that anchored Australia's remarkable recovery.
Khawaja's 107-run partnership with influential wicketkeeper Alex Carey, who struck 11 boundaries in his polished 71 to provide Australia's impetus, transformed the odds from desperate to favourites.
New Zealand never threatened to upgrade their underdog status, and now face a short turnaround to regain any form of confidence.