Opener Moeen Ali believes England must forget their Australia jinx if they are to enjoy any success at the World Cup.
England suffered yet another defeat to their oldest rivals in the tournament opener at the MCG on Saturday meekly succumbing to a 111-run loss.
This represented a fourth successive defeat to Australia since arriving Down Under for the tri-series and has served to underline the significant gap England must bridge if they are to have any chance of lifting the World Cup for the first time on March 29 in Melbourne.
However, England can at least shelve their Australia problems for the time being and concentrate on their remaining five group games as they attempt to achieve their primary aim of booking a quarter-final berth.
“Australia have been very tough for us,” Moeen said.
“Since we’ve been here they have beaten us every single time. Now we don’t face them for a while, and not at all in this group.
“With them out of the way now we can look to string a couple of wins together.
“We must look forward now, almost forget about this, analyse it, do what we need to do, because it’s a long tournament – it’s not over after one game.
“Whoever is going to play against Australia is going to find it tough, they’re such a good side at the moment, so in a way it’s good to have got that game out of the way.”
England’s next challenge is hardly any easier with the other co-hosts, in-form New Zealand, next up in Wellington.
The Black Caps have won 10 of their past 12 one-day internationals, including back-to-back victories to start the tournament against Sri Lanka and Scotland.
New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson has described their run as a “juggernaut” and they will be strong favourites to overcome England, who have only ever won one ODI in Wellington – way back in 1984.
With the odds stacked against them, Moeen sees the situation as a chance for a young England team, who reached the final of the tri-series to start the tour, to prove they should not be written off just yet.
“It was a bad day against Australia,” he said. “I still feel we are a good side and we have a chance.
“We have obviously got a tough game coming up, but hopefully after Friday a lot of people will be saying we’ve got a chance again.
“It will be a great challenge for us and if we come through that and get a good result, then the confidence will be sky high.”
England yesterday had their first training session since arriving in Wellington and stern-faced coach Peter Moores sat the players down on the outfield at the Basin Reserve and spoke to them uninterrupted for almost 15 minutes before they began their drills.
Afterwards they were given a traditional Maori welcome in front of a throng of locals who lined the quayside as the entire squad, and staff, walked along the harbour to their reception.
There was one slightly squirm-inducing incident when the Wellington mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, welcomed the England team and their captain “Owen Rogers”.
It was a light-hearted moment for the England one-day captain, who has endured a tormented tour since making a century in the tri-series opener against Australia.
Since then he has made just two runs in five innings, but Moeen denied Morgan has shown any signs his miserable run is getting to him.
“He has not come across like that at all,” he said.
“He is not showing that he’s lacking confidence, which is good for the players to see.”