New Zealand’s Ross Taylor believes the Black Caps can return to winning ways against England after losing momentum at a key stage of their World Cup campaign. Wednesday’s match in Chester-le-Street is effectively a quarter-final, with the winners guaranteed a place in the last four.
Even a defeat would be unlikely to spell the end of New Zealand’s involvement, as there would need to be a big swing in net run-rate to deny the 2015 losing finalists a place in the semi-finals.
The Black Caps, like tournament hosts England bidding to win their first World Cup, were unbeaten during their first six group games in England and Wales.
But they head into their final round-robin fixture following back-to-back defeats by Pakistan and Australia.
Taylor said New Zealand had not played to their full potential so far. “We definitely haven’t got the momentum that we would have liked in the last couple of games, but tomorrow is a different story against different opposition,” he said in a pre-match press conference.
New Zealand’s attack, led by Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, have been a force to be reckoned with throughout the tournament. But the batting has been a different story, with the exception of the outstanding captain Kane Williamson, who is averaging more than a hundred.
Opener Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, has struggled and Taylor has not managed to convert either of his two half-centuries into a big score. “I’d love as a team to take a little bit of pressure off Kane and score some runs and not let him do everything,” said the 35-year-old Taylor, who added that Guptill’s confidence was low.
Taylor knows Chester-le-Street well from his time as an overseas player with northeast county Durham. It was also the venue where England sealed a dramatic 3-2 win over New Zealand in their first white-ball series after an embarrassing first-round exit at the 50-over global showpiece in 2015.
“Every time we played England in the last little while it’s been a great series. I think it came down to the wire in that series back home and the last time we were here was a must-win.
“I think it was two-all, and Jonny Bairstow (83 not out) came in fresh and batted well. Obviously, another big game coming up tomorrow and hopefully we’re up for it.”