England v New Zealand - ‘Humiliating’ 2015 Wellington defeat drives on captain Eoin Morgan

England take on New Zealand with a World Cup semi-final place up for grabs but Eoin Morgan’s motivation goes all the way back to 2015 and a “rock-bottom” defeat in Wellington.

England's Jos Buttler (left) and Eoin Morgan (centre) with ground staff during the nets session at Riverside Durham. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA

The Black Caps dealt out a brutal beating in the previous edition of the tournament, skittling England for 123 then reeling off the runs in a humiliating 12.2 overs.

The experience seared itself on the mind of Morgan, whose rookie captaincy might have ended in the aftermath of their dismal group-stage exit, but instead he used it as the catalyst for his team’s rise to prominence.

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Morgan and company go into today’s game at Chester-le-Street knowing victory would guarantee them a place in the semi-finals, with defeat leaving them in danger of another gut-wrenching exit.

QUESTION MARKS: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson during the nets session at Riverside Durham. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA

Reflecting on the chastening experience four years ago, the England captain said: “It was as close to rock-bottom as I’ve been. Certainly as a captain and as a player.

“Being beaten off the park like that was humiliating.

“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 in the World Cup.”

England's Eoin Morgan stretches during the nets session at Riverside Durham. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA

It certainly had the effect on England, who picked pieces from that blueprint and set them off on a journey that would take them from also-rans in 50-over cricket to number one in the world.

They surrendered that hard-won honour after back-to-back defeats but are back on track after beating India, the side who replaced them at the summit, by 31 runs last time out.

Opening batsman Jason Roy helped pave the way for that result, making 66 on his return after three games out with a torn hamstring.

Morgan admitted prior to that match that it was a risk to recall the Surrey man at Edgbaston but appeared more confident this time.

“He’s good, he’s going to be fit for the New Zealand game,” added Morgan.

“He’s in fantastic form, him and Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order. In the India game it really did set the tone for our innings on a wicket we feel wasn’t that good to bat on.”

Ross Taylor last night defended the captaincy credentials of Kane Williamson as he called on New Zealand’s batsmen to lighten their talisman’s workload ahead of the clash against England.

One-time Yorkshire batsman Williamson has amassed 454 runs in six tournament innings at a phenomenal average of 113.5, though his leadership has come under scrutiny for being too passive.

Unfavourable comparisons have been made with Williamson’s predecessor, Brendon McCullum, following successive defeats to Pakistan and Australia that have left the Kiwis’ World Cup hopes in the balance.

However, they will seal their place in the semi-finals if they overcome England.

Taylor said: “I’ve played under many different captains. Brendon was the extreme and Kane has his own unique style as well. You have to be true to yourself and be authentic and more often than not you get the right result.

“Kane is a fantastic world-class batsman and a world-class captain. There are some pundits out there saying he was a great captain. We lose a couple of games and he is a bad captain.

“He is still a great captain, leads from the front and the team respect him and I love playing under him. I’d love as a team to take a little bit of pressure off him and score some runs and not let him do everything.”