Eoin Morgan has berated England's performance against New Zealand in Wellington
The venue was Wellington, February 2015, in the last World Cup, and a stunned Cake Tin crowd saw the Kiwis savage England with the swiftest coup de grace in their one-day history, winning by eight wickets with 226 balls to spare.
Predictably, Morgan does not remember the day with any affection, but yesterday he warned the Kiwis that his ‘boys’ have done some growing up in the intervening two years.
So much so that when they meet today in Cardiff it will be Morgan’s side who will be favourites to become the first team to book their place in the Champions Trophy semi-finals.
“They were one of the favourites going in to the tournament and proved that against us that day in Wellington. It was sort of men against boys,” said Morgan. “But it’s completely different now, two years down the line.
“We’ve got a completely new team, pretty much, and a lot of it is to do with confidence. You can only build confidence by producing performances and winning games at cricket.
- Cricket players takes a ball – to the BALLS
- Boris Johnson plays cricket during Indian trade mission
- Prince Philip opens new stand at Lord's cricket ground
You can only build confidence by producing performances and winning games at cricket
England captain Eoin Morgan
“The dominant factor in New Zealand was that they had that confidence at the time and the confidence within the group, whereas we didn’t have it. We come into this tournament full of confidence and knowing that the conditions we’re playing and going to play in.”
There will be just a handful of survivors from the mauling that day with Morgan, Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler still bearing the scars. Steve Finn if he gets the nod would be a fifth but seems likely to be on the bench.
If some of the faces might be the same the brand of cricket they play is much changed – a mood shift in no small part down to the bullying style employed against them that day.
Morgan is loathe to credit New Zealand solely with the spark for their metamorphosis despite a series which followed in the summer of 2015 in England which put muscle on a re-engineered frame.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Steve Finn is likely to start on the bench
“There are a number of teams that have [inspired us]. If you look at the top four teams that got to the semi-final stage in that World Cup [South Africa, Australia, India and the Kiwis], all seemed to score regular totals of over 350 or 350 itself,” said Morgan.
“The way New Zealand went about playing their cricket was probably closer to the way we go about it. We have very similar characteristics and values as a side and it’s probably the easiest to relate to out of those four teams that made the latter stages.”
Chris Woakes was another unfortunate member of the England side in Wellington and his absence from the rest of the tournament has created the only selection dilemma for Morgan.
With the pitch securely under wraps yesterday as Cardiff was hammered by rain the England skipper was genuinely unsure of what to expect, but the prospect of Adil Rashid coming back into the side at a ground with such short straight boundaries (63m and 69m straight as opposed to 70m and 81m square) seems unlikely.
ICC Champions Trophy odds: Who will win the tournament? Thu, June 1, 2017
Express Sport takes a look at who are favourites to lift the ICC Champions Trophy, based on the best prices available from 888Sport
Play slideshow Getty Images 1 of 9
Who is favourite to win the ICC Champions Trophy?
Whether Finn comes in for Jake Ball is more pertinent but despite proving expensive against Bangladesh the latter should hold on to his place with David Willey coming in for Woakes.
Plunkett is set to take over Woakes’s death bowling duties but Willey has the ability to swing the new ball (or did have) despite a poor return of just four wickets from his last 10 ODI outings.
“I’d have no hesitation in playing Finny if we felt it was the right thing to do. It will be a hard thing to do [to leapfrog those already in the squad],” said Morgan.
“He has the quality to come in and make a huge impact on the tournament but we have guys who can do that who are not playing at the moment.”
Victory for England would see them become the first team to book their last four spot. There would be nice symmetry doing it against a team that helped to spark their white-ball revolution.