ENGLAND captain Eoin Morgan conceded New Zealand’s red-hot bowling attack were too good as they slumped to a second World Cup defeat in as many matches.
Tim Southee shone for the Black Caps, taking 7-33, as England were restricted to 123 all out after just 33.2 overs, before New Zealand turned the screw and wrapped up their chase to win by eight wickets with more than 37 overs remaining.
Yorkshire’s Joe Root was the sole highlight for England on a dismal day, top scoring with 46 while everyone else around him succumbed to Kiwi pressure.
Morgan admitted the conditions took him by surprise after he won the toss and elected to bat first, but gave full credit to the tournament co-hosts for the pressure they exerted in Wellington.
“I thought New Zealand bowled really well, conditions suited them. It swung throughout the whole of our innings, which was unexpected,” he said.
“We expected conditions to be batter-friendly, if anything. Credit goes to them, they built pressure and bowled pretty well.
“Our first two games are the most difficult of the group, they were always going to be a tough start to a World Cup.
“From here we concentrate on simple things moving forward and hopefully get a win as soon as possible under our belt and gain some momentum from there.”
Defeat leaves England rock bottom of Pool A after the 111-run defeat to Australia last weekend, with a must-win clash against Scotland up next on Monday.
On a personal note Morgan felt he somewhat turned a corner by posting a modest 17 off 41 balls to end his run of three successive ducks, but it was scant consolation.
He added: “I feel a lot better after today. I have struggled these last couple of innings. Having some time in the middle has certainly helped. I am probably further along than I was earlier this week.”
Southee was humble after posting New Zealand’s best-ever one-day bowling figures, which included a devastating five wickets in 20 balls, instead choosing to highlight how it was a good team display.
“Someone did mention that. It just goes to show that is was another great team performance that we have shown today,” he said.
New Zealand’s win was also well crafted with the bat as captain Brendon McCullum stepped up to the crease as a man on a mission, hitting the fastest one-day fifty in World Cup history off just 18 balls.
Morgan also paid high praise to his opposite number, who eventually departed on 77 from 25 deliveries with victory almost a certainty for the co-hosts.
“He (McCullum) is not the ideal candidate to be bowling at when you have got 123 on the board,” Morgan added. “When it comes off, he is the most destructive batsman in the world. Credit to him, he played really well.”
McCullum was understandably thrilled with his side’s display as they underlined why many consider them to be one of the favourites to win the World Cup.
“It was an incredible performance. We wanted to bat first as well,” he said.
“Tim Southee and Trent Boult, when they bowl like that they are pretty hard to play against. A world-class performance and the crowd was amazing. I really enjoyed playing in front of such a big crowd.”