Eoin Morgan has admitted his team were “outskilled” by a rampant New Zealand side, as they were beaten by eight wickets in Wellington, their second big World Cup defeat after that by Australia a week ago.
But he denied that there will be panic changes when England meet Scotland in Christchurch on Monday. Bowled out for 123, their third lowest total in 11 World Cups, Tim Southee taking seven for 33, they were further humiliated by Brendon McCullum, who backed up his outstanding captaincy by hitting 77 from 25 balls, with eight fours and seven sixes, as the Black Caps won with the first power play barely done and a remarkable 226 balls to spare.
“I have disappointment more than anything,” Morgan said after the match. “Credit has to be given to New Zealand for the way they bowled and fielded.
“But when we are not doing our basics well we are being exposed by good teams and we have seen that here. We are not doing our basics right and we are not reproducing what we practise. These first two games, against Australia and New Zealand, we knew would be difficult playing against two of the favourites in their home conditions.
“We envisaged or foresaw a future of having lost our first two games but not by these amounts. We can still make the quarter-finals but the sooner we start winning and getting momentum the better. In the first game against Australia we were under par and I could see us being tentative but here we were outskilled.”
Morgan admitted that his decision to bat first having won the toss was a big contributory factor, allowing Southee to swing the ball throughout the innings in a masterful display that included a spell of five for 10 in 19 balls.
“With hindsight I wouldn’t have batted first if I had known it would swing for that long,” he said. “There was not a cloud in the sky and it had not rained here for a while. If it looked like it was going to swing, obviously I would have had no hesitation in bowling first because that is our biggest strength.
“In the first 10 overs if we can take three or four wickets we are right in the game. But everything today said bat and I just got it wrong. It swung throughout and they managed to build pressure.
“It is the best bowling performance we have come across since we’ve been down this side of the world which says a lot considering we have played against Australia. Today we could not cope with it. The ball swung late and they exposed us. It looked really difficult and, when Southee can turn over guys like Ian Bell in the fashion he did, then credit to him.”
The team will now fly down to Christchurch and it will be a ruminative journey. Morgan likes to back his players but there will be cause for some serious thoughts before taking on a Scotland team that gave the same New Zealand side more of a run for its money.
“My gut instinct is I don’t want to go into a state of panic where we make three or four changes for one game,” added Morgan. “That is not what I am about. I have always believed in making good decisions and backing the right players at the right time. The XI we had playing today were the best I believed we had to win the game.
“If conditions change in Christchurch, then we will plan accordingly but just because we were out performed today does not necessarily mean we will be binning anybody. The boys are quiet at the moment as they naturally will be. Guys are very disappointed and over the next day or so they will look at themselves individually and see what they can improve.
“Collectively we are going to have to get tighter as a group and produce the collective performances we have been searching for. Instead of producing individual performances we need to produce team performances.”