What a difference 24 months have made to the dynamics of a one-day international between England and New Zealand.
Wind back the clock to June 2015 and England went into a five-match home series against the Black Caps, noted 50-over specialists, figuratively quaking in their bowling boots. The previous meeting had seen New Zealand register an eight-wicket thrashing in Wellington in February of that year, a result that helped to consign a hapless England team to a swift exit from Pool A of the World Cup.
It looked at that point as if the England and Wales Cricket Board's decision in December 2014 to remove Alastair Cook as ODI skipper in favour of Eoin Morgan had well and truly backfired, the desired improvement at the quadrennial showpiece event failing to materialise.
Rather than confirm their white-ball malaise, the subsequent home series against the Kiwis instead heralded the start of a genuine renaissance for England in the format. A thrilling 3-2 win was followed by narrow defeats to world champions Australia and perennial powerhouses South Africa, either side of a victory over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
And since then, only India on their own turf have gotten the better of Morgan's men, England recording series triumphs over Sri Lanka, Pakistan again, Bangladesh, West Indies, Ireland and, most notably, the Proteas in the warm-up to the Champions Trophy. Now, with an eight-wicket, tournament-opening victory over Bangladesh under their belt, England go up against a New Zealand side in need of a win in Cardiff, their own curtain-raiser against neighbours and rivals Australia having been washed out.
The Black Caps are likely to remain unchanged from that one, while for England, Steven Finn is primed to replace Chris Woakes, ruled out of the tournament due to a side strain, and Adil Rashid or David Willey could come in for Jake Ball. Jason Roy looks set to escape the selection axe after failing against the Tigers.
It is impossible to understate the importance of Joe Root to England, both in Tests and ODIs. The Yorkshire batsman's 133 at The Oval turned the run chase against Bangladesh into a stroll and he could easily repeat the trick in this one.
By the same token, Kane Williamson, who made a wasted 100 against Australia, is New Zealand's go-to destroyer following the retirement of Brendon McCullum and England will be desperate to remove the Kiwi skipper cheaply.
England: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (captain), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Steven Finn.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Luke Ronchi, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Neil Broom, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult.
LAST ODI MEETING:
Jonny Bairstow, overlooked in favour of Roy in this tournament so far, top scored for England with 83 and Ben Stokes took three scalps as the hosts won by three wickets at Chester-le-Street to seal that 3-2 series victory two years ago. Martin Guptill and Williamson both made half-centuries in vain.
"Taking wickets is always something I try to do. I never take a backward step and try to be negative or defensive. I think I've got a good record in one-day cricket. I think I am slightly taller than the other guys and can therefore get a bit more bounce. I've played a lot of ODIs." - England's Finn is not short of confidence after receiving the selectors' distress call.
"Their batting line-up is very aggressive. If you don't get it right and don't take wickets then you are chasing a big score. Their bowling line-up also has a lot of variety so we know we're going to have to play really well again." - Williamson is wary of England's potential with bat and ball.
- England and New Zealand have faced off twice in the ICC Champions Trophy; the Black Caps taking the spoils in the 2009 edition (four wickets) whilst England won the most recent encounter in the competition (10 run victory in 2013).
- England have won nine of their last 10 ODI matches (L1) whilst New Zealand have claimed wins in 10 of their last 14 completed ODIs (L4).
- Trent Boult is in line to play his 50th ODI for New Zealand in this match, he has taken 88 wickets at average of 24.9 so far, the fifth best average of any Black Caps bowler to take 50+ wickets.