Wellington, Feb 19: Hammered by hosts Australia in their lung-opener, England face another stern test when they take on the unbeaten New Zealand in their Pool A match of the cricket World Cup, here tomorrow.
World Cup Special
England could not have thought of a more nightmarish start to their World Cup campaign as Australia inflicted a humiliating 111-run defeat on them.
The way Aaron Finch, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell tore apart England's bowling unit at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a lot will depend on how skipper Eoin Morgan and his men recover from the morale-shattering loss.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are already in touching distance of a quarterfinal berth after two consecutive wins. After a convincing 98-run win against the 1996 champions Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in the tournament opener, Brendon McCullum and his men beat Scotland by three wickets in their second game.
For England, running into the co-hosts after facing Australia makes it all the more difficult as they are aware another slip-up would kill their chance of going further.
The onus thus will be on skipper Eoin Morgan to lift England's spirit and give their batting a boost, especially since he has scored abysmally low -- just two runs in five innings, in the run-up to the tournament so far.
Shoehorned into captaincy after Alastair Cook's axing, Morgan will have to lead from the front to inspire his team when it takes the field at the Westpac Stadium tomorrow.
"He's aware of the fact that he wants more runs and it's important for the team that he plays his part. He thinks about his own game. He knows his strengths. So the onus of responsibility is on him because of his experience," England's batting coach Mark Ramprakash said.
Needless to say, New Zealand are the strong favourites going into the game tomorrow but the way the co-hosts struggled to score 143 against Scotland in their last match, the co-hosts will have to sort their batting woes.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wkt), Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Luke Ronchi (wkt), Ross Taylor.
Match start at 6.30 AM IST