|Scorecard:||England v New Zealand|
|Player:||A Flintoff, EC Joyce, SP Fleming|
|Event:||Commonwealth Bank Series 2006/07|
DateLine: 25th January 2007
England's disastrous loss to New Zealand in Tuesday's one-day match in Adelaide has left them in a real bind in the triangular series, the team's stand-in skipper Andrew Flintoff has said. The 90-run defeat, which saw England struggle to just 120 chasing 211 to win, was England's 23rd in their last 31 one-day internationals as they continue to struggle with the game they invented. A win over the Black Caps would have all but guaranteed England a berth in the tri-series finals next month. Instead, New Zealand leapfrogged England in the table by collecting a bonus point as Flintoff's nightmare antipodean captaincy continues. Both sides have four matches left, two against each other and two against the unbeaten Australians. But Flintoff conceded Tuesday's defeat was extremely damaging to England's hopes of making the finals. "We have a big game on Friday against Australia," Flintoff said on Tuesday in Adelaide. "Every game we play now is a big one in the context of the competition." Flintoff, who is yet to win a match as captain on a tour that is almost three months old, was adamant his side was far better than its form suggested. He said the bowlers were doing their job, but that the batting was a major concern, with only Ed Joyce defying the Black Caps on Tuesday. Flintoff said the English simply needed to "execute the batting better". "We have to start performing with both bat and ball," he said. "I thought we bowled well (against New Zealand), but we need to start scoring runs. We are better players than what we showed today. It has been a tough trip for some, no getting away from it, but we have to remain confident, we have to go out there believing we are good players and we can score runs." Flintoff said it was hard to find a reason for England's continued poor batting form. "It is not through a lack of trying," he said. "The lads in the net are working at the game and trying to improve, we are practising well. We have to keep backing ourselves and our ability and have no fear about expressing ourselves in the middle. We are good players and we have scored runs and we will score runs again, hopefully on Friday," he added. As if the English weren't under enough pressure, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming questioned their state of mind after Tuesday's match. "(Defeat) is not going to help, when you've been through a tough Test summer as England have," Fleming said. "Any momentum you can grab, those close games you can get across the line, and just scrap and scrape some results together, is going to help to build that momentum you need, just to keep your tour alive. Being away for so long it's going to have some effects - if you're playing good cricket it's going to make it a lot easier."