Vettori relying on IPL experience
At first glance the omens aren't good for New Zealand, returning to the scene of their test cricket series meltdown and trying to avert a six-match losing streak in Twenty20 internationals.
The England players' heads are spinning as they joust for a spot in Texan billionaire Allen Stanford's winner-take-all match - $US1 ($NZ1.34) million per player - against a West Indies selection in November, although captain Paul Collingwood insists the topic will be off limits in the dressing room.
But New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is confident all those factors are minor issues amid the razzle dazzle of tomorrow's one-off Twenty20 match at a sold-out Old Trafford (4.30am start NZT).
The tourists packed away the whites and rid some test series demons with their Worcestershire outing where they plundered 358, including a Brendon McCullum century, to win the 50-over match by 95 runs.
Vettori said it provided a welcome tonic, playing a side with four former England internationals, as they try to grab some momentum for the five-match one-day series starting near Durham on Sunday night (NZT).
"We see it as vitally important. If we went out there and lost yesterday it'd be hard to keep trying to bring ourselves back up," he said.
"If we can win here and get some confidence going into Durham, hopefully things just flow from there."
Both have ordinary Twenty20 records; New Zealand winning five from 15 and England five from 13, including both contests in Auckland and Christchurch in February.
Vettori pointed out key players were missing then, namely himself and Jacob Oram, and New Zealand went on to win the one-day series 3-1.
Although he said New Zealand were "pretty comfortable" with the Twenty20 format, recent history would suggest otherwise.
New Zealand have lost six in a row since beating England at the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September, where they were eliminated by Pakistan in the semifinals.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) experience of Vettori, McCullum, Oram, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris and Kyle Mills gives New Zealand a potential edge against England's solitary IPL player, allrounder Dimitri Mascarenhas.
Styris hit the ground running at Worcester with 36 off 27 balls, a slick run-out and bowling figures of three for 25 off eight overs.
As the only current New Zealand international to play the entire IPL, Styris was seen as a key figure.
"Hopefully his experience for the full IPL should help us with his knowledge of the way the Twenty20 game is moving and developing," Vettori said.
"A lot of us have been out of it for a while so we're going to try to gather as much as we can from Scott."
Vettori's tactical battle against Collingwood will also be a factor.
As Shane Warne showed when he inspired Rajasthan Royals to the IPL title, leadership was vital in Twenty20.
"There's a side of it I really enjoy, you get to make a lot of decisions on the fly and some times they work and sometimes they don't.
"If you keep making decisions you get ahead of the game instead of waiting for things to happen."
Vettori said McCullum's and Ross Taylor's batting, along with the pace bowling of Mark Gillespie and Michael Mason were the encouraging signs from their Worcester win.
Depending on the Old Trafford pitch, Mason and Jeetan Patel might compete for the final bowling spot as frontliner Kyle Mills returns, although youngster Tim Southee's quick recovery from a sprained ankle saw him rated an outside chance of playing as New Zealand delayed confirmation of their team.