England’s one-day renaissance in the last four years owes a debt of gratitude to New Zealand so, in a way, it is fitting these sides will contest the World Cup final at Lord’s this Sunday.
Following their embarrassing group stage elimination in 2015, England captain Eoin Morgan decided to adopt the Black Caps’ brand of fearless, attacking cricket, under Brendon McCullum, as his own.
Here PA looks at some of the pivotal meetings between the sides in recent years ahead of this weekend’s showpiece.
New Zealand v England – Wellington, February 2015
An eight-wicket victory for New Zealand in the embryonic group stages of the World Cup barely describes how emphatic this defeat was for England – one with far-reaching consequences. Morgan’s side were thoroughly outclassed, Tim Southee taking a career-best seven for 33 as England were skittled for 123. The meagre total was overhauled in 12.2 overs in a day-night fixture that ended before the floodlights were needed. The experience remains a haunting one for Morgan, who recently described it as “close to rock-bottom as I’ve been”.
England v New Zealand – Edgbaston, June 2015
The revolution was televised. Three months on from their World Cup humiliation, Morgan, armed with a new philosophy and several talents from county cricket unburdened by past failures, continued as England leader into a series against a side they were hoping to emulate. Even Morgan may have been taken aback by how quickly his blueprint was implemented, Joe Root and Jos Buttler amassing centuries as England surged to 408 for nine, at the time their highest one-day international total. Steven Finn and Adil Rashid then each took four wickets, New Zealand rolled for 198 to lose by a jarring 210 runs.
England v New Zealand – Trent Bridge, June 2015
England were ripping up any preconceptions of them as a team in an enthralling series that spanned only 12 days but demonstrably set the tone for the following four years. The Kiwis had brushed off their heavy Birmingham defeat to win at The Oval and the Ageas Bowl before posting a mammoth 349 for seven in Nottingham, future captain Kane Williamson top-scoring with 90. England, though, bolstered by rapid hundreds from Root and Morgan, and a swashbuckling 67 from Hales, knocked off the total with seven wickets and six overs to spare – their highest successful ODI chase. They would seal a thrilling series win in Chester-le-Street.
New Zealand v England – Dunedin, March 2018
By this stage, England’s transformation from also-rans to world beaters was complete. However, New Zealand, by now led by Williamson, were still worthy foes and they levelled another gripping series at 2-2, despite losing both openers inside three overs. Centuries from Jonny Bairstow, who had recently ousted Hales as opener, and Root lifted England to 335 for nine but Williamson and Ross Taylor steadied proceedings after the early losses of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro. Taylor then went to a career-best ODI score of 181 not out as New Zealand sealed a five-wicket win, achieved with three balls left. Another Bairstow century would give the tourists victory in the decider, England once again prevailing 3-2 in the bilateral series.
England v New Zealand – Chester-le-Street, July 2019
Back-to-back defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia had left England’s World Cup in disarray. The hosts overcame India but still needed to beat the Black Caps to guarantee progression to the knockout stages. The toss went in their favour before Bairstow registered his third successive ODI century against New Zealand. An increasingly sluggish pitch saw Morgan’s side just about get past 300, a total which was beyond New Zealand once Williamson was ran out backing up, Mark Wood getting his fingertips to a Taylor drive which clattered into the stumps at the non-striker’s end. England therefore advanced with a 119-run win