New Zealand kicked off their campaign with a convincing win over Sri Lanka last weekend followed by a three-wicket victory over Scotland on Tuesday, a win built on fine swing bowling but almost undone by a sloppy batting display.
Nevertheless, skipper Brendon McCullum has enough confidence in the side that started the match in Dunedin to confirm the team for Friday’s encounter even before he even had a chance to look at the wicket at the Wellington Regional Stadium.
“We have a full squad to pick from, and we’re going to go with the same team we’ve played the last two games,” McCullum said.
“The guys have performed well so far. We want to give them the same opportunity again.
???We think that the balance of the team that we’re going in with will suit us well on this ground.”
The Black Caps willl face England with an impressive run of form behind them: they have won nine of their last 11 one-day internationals in Wellington and lost just two of their last 13 at all grounds.
Such form has put the co-hosts among the favourites to win the World Cup but McCullum said New Zealand would not allow such tags to distract them from the task at hand.
“We know that we can’t get too far in front of ourselves. We’re not a good enough team to do so.
“We need to be very respectful of that, go about our preparation and go about our work and try to execute our game plan.
???If we do that, that’s certainly how we give ourselves our greatest opportunity.”
England opened their campaign with a 111-run defeat to other co-hosts Australia in Melbourne last Saturday, with captain Eoin Morgan out for a duck in three of his last four matches.
But McCullum threw his support by the embattled England captain, who he played alongside at Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, describing Morgan as a “champion bloke” and who he fully expects to turn his form around.
“I caught up with him last night; he’s a champion bloke and one of my better mates from around the world in terms of cricket,” McCullum said.
“We didn’t talk about it (Morgan’s form) too much to be honest.
“He’s obviously going through a bit of a tough time at the moment. Tough times don’t last but tough blokes do.
“Hopefully tomorrow we’re able to keep him quiet, but I’m very confident at some point he will bounce out of it. He’s a quality player and a tough bloke too.”
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult