Eoin Morgan’s England were left humiliated as they were skittled for a paltry 123 – their lowest World Cup total on foreign soil as New Zealand powerfully cast them aside by eight wickets in Wellington for a second chastening defeat in the tournament.
Brendon McCullum’s 18-ball half-century swept New Zealand to the target in just 12.2 overs and before the Wellington Regional Stadium lights were even required.
Tim Southee’s vintage display of swing bowling set the stage for McCullum’s ferocious hitting as he first brought England to their knees with seven for 33, the best figures by a New Zealand bowler in one-day internationals.
McCullum then crashed 77 in 25 balls, at one point belting Steven Finn for four successive sixes as his two overs cost 49, to leave England completely awestruck and scrambling to pick up the pieces of another heavy reverse after Australia handed them a 111-run defeat to start the World Cup.
England will barely have time to catch their breath before they meet Scotland in Christchurch tomorrow night with the weight of pressure now squarely on their shoulders against an Associate nation they will still be expected to beat.
Morgan had opted to bat under cloudless skies but England’s woeful record at the venue – they were bowled out for 89 and 130 on their previous two ODI visits – was to continue as they lost their final seven wickets for just 19 runs.
Joe Root was the lone England batsman to supply any worthwhile resistance with 46, while skipper Morgan unconvincingly ended his run of outs with 17 from 41 balls. But England have now been bowled out in 13 of their past 19 ODIs.
The latest debacle has seen former players queuing up to stick the boot in. Former skipper Michael Vaughan believes Peter Moores may be on borrowed time as coach if England fail to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Vaughan described England as “abject” and likened aspects of the performance to “surrender” – as well as insisting the continued absence of the sacked Kevin Pietersen is still a significant issue.
Echoing the remarks of another ex-England batsman, Paul Collingwood, who will be Scotland’s assistant coach when they take on Morgan’s team in Christchurch tomorrow night, Vaughan senses only progression to the knockout stages will extend Moores’ second tenure.
Vaughan, by his own admission, did not gel with Moores’ methods when they were captain and coach eight years ago. He has a different perspective as a pundit these days, but has made it clear in his newspaper column that he is yet to be impressed second time round either. “[England and Wales Cricket Board managing director] Paul Downton said Peter Moores is the coach of his generation,” Vaughan wrote.
“But I always say international coaching is about man-management, tactics and skill. Peter is not stupid. He will know that the Scotland game and the next four matches are massive in his second tenure as coach. You don’t get long second time around.”
Moores lost his job in 2009 after an apparent power struggle with Pietersen, Vaughan’s successor as captain.
Since returning after England’s Ashes whitewash in Australia last winter, he has yet to win a one-day international series but finished the 2014 Test summer with victory over India.
England began their World Cup campaign with a 111-run humbling against Australia in Melbourne, and their collapse to defeat in less than half the scheduled playing time to the other co-hosts is a new low. Vaughan added of Moores: “His first stint was not a success, and the second time hasn’t been so far either. Peter simply has to start winning games, qualify for the quarter-final and start competing – because at the moment it is abject.”
Three wins, almost certainly starting against Scotland, are a minimum requirement to reach the last eight. Vaughan also argues the void left by the record-breaking Pietersen, axed after the Ashes debacle, has not been filled.
“The ECB hate anyone talking about the Pietersen factor and have successfully managed to ensure the mainstream media do not bring him up, but there is no doubt he should be batting in this team. He should be at this World Cup, playing under Morgan.
“England cannot say it was the right decision to sack him when they are playing like this and losing to New Zealand like they did.”
England’s latest setback left another ex-England captain, Sir Geoffrey Boycott, in a state of shock – and batting coach Mark Ramprakash issuing a public apology to supporters. Boycott is notably rarely lost for words – but he appeared bemused after England were bowled out for 123 and the Kiwis then charged to victory in just 12.2 overs to leave their opponents bottom of Pool A, below minnows Scotland, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
“It’s bit of a shock,” he told BBC radio. “England should have been able to post a really good total, and maybe even bat New Zealand out of the game. But they just collapsed totally.”
Morgan spoke at his post-match press conference of the difficulties encountered when the white balls swung much more than England expected. Boycott, however, believes the captain is “kidding himself” on that score.
He said: “This wasn’t an uncovered pitch, or a grassy pitch, where the ball has seamed and swung all over the place. This was a flat 270 pitch, minimum - and we made a right mess of it.”
Daring to look forward to England’s next assignment, Boycott added: “We’ll all be a bit nervous on Monday ... the ‘Scottish’ day. He [Moores] is under pressure. They’re all under pressure. The captain, Morgan, is under pressure – and the coach – definitely.”
Ramprakash tweeted after Friday’s disappointment: “Got to apologise to the fans re the game/result, at 103 for 3 didnt see the mayhem to come! No one to blame but ourselves- will do better!”