Eoin Morgan looking to secure semi-final spot against New Zealand
New Zealand provided the framework from which Eoin Morgan has re-built England's one-day team over the last four years.
- Eoin Morgan says New Zealand’s eight wicket win at the last World Cup was England’s rock bottom
- England know their destiny is in their hands with a win guaranteeing them a semi-final place
And now the England skipper must mastermind a victory over those self-same Black Caps to secure their semi-final spot at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
In Durham on Wednesday, the tournament hosts still have their fate in their own hands after that impressive win over India last time out.
Beat the Black Caps and a top-four spot is England’s while it is the same equation for the Kiwis – although net run rate could still save Kane Williamson’s side if they lose.
Williamson has taken over as Kiwi captain from Brendon McCullum since the last World Cup, when the Kiwis mauled England in the group stages and left Morgan to pick up the pieces and rebuild this England ODI side.
“That was as close to rock bottom as I’ve been,” admitted Morgan, reflecting on that eight-wicket defeat four years ago that was secured by the Kiwis with 37 overs to spare.
“Certainly as a captain and as a player: being beaten off the park like that is humiliating.
“The influence, throughout the whole World Cup on all the other teams around the world, was quite extreme.
“New Zealand proved a point that you can actually be really good humans and grow the game and play cricket in your own way and win, at the same time.
“Which is incredibly eye-opening for a lot of countries around the world. I thought that rubbed off on everybody at the world cup.”
Morgan has a full squad to select from for this crunch clash at the Riverside – where they have not lost an ODI since 2014.
That means the concerns over both Jason Roy and Jofra Archer have eased, as confidence has returned to the England fold following that Edgbaston win over India.
Back-to-back losses to Sri Lanka and Australia put a serious dent in their top-four ambitions, but Morgan is delighted with the fight his side have shown since.
“I think two defeats in a row (sharpens a team),” he added.
“It was clear after the Australia game that there was a huge amount of disappointment in the changing room.
“The fact that we’ve been able to turn that around, identify where we are at and identify what we need to do in order to progress to the semis made things clearer about how we want to continue to play, which hasn’t changed. It’s important and it’s been effective.”
England climbed to the top of the world in ODI cricket with a reputation for chasing down any total with the bat.
But after three defeats in this tournament, all of which came when batting second, Morgan admits to having a re-think.
“I think just accepting that the wickets haven’t been as good as they have been in the last four years has changed that,” he added.
“The game yesterday (SL v WI in Durham), the wicket looked good for 100 overs. That might change again tomorrow.
“Every wicket that we’ve played on so far I suppose has been tougher to bat on in the second innings regardless of who’s won or not. Even the games I’ve watched on tv, it’s been tougher in the second innings.”