DUNEDIN - New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum insisted his team have batting improvements to make ahead of their next World Cup duel against England after labouring to a three-wicket win over Scotland on Tuesday.

The Black Caps reached their 143-run target with more than half their overs left but lost seven wickets in the process against a team who were the 14th and last country to qualify for the World Cup. New Zealand's late struggles at Dunedin's University Oval were in stark contrast to the start of the Pool A match when Scotland were reduced to 12 for four, with seamers Trent Boult and Tim Southee taking two wickets each.

"It was a really good performance with the ball -- with the bat, we showed glimpses but we have to improve," said McCullum, whose side face England in Wellington on Friday. "England will be a challenge -- they're hurting (after losing by 111 runs to Australia), they'll be tough to beat and we'll have to play incredibly well."

McCullum praised Scotland who posted a relatively decent total of 142 after their early slump, with Matt Machan (56) and Richie Berrington (50) putting on 97 for the fifth wicket. "All credit to Scotland for the way they hung in there. But we've seen how effective Trent Boult and Tim Southee can be and they were outstanding," he said.

Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen, one of five batsmen to be dismissed for nought, said his team never really recovered from their top-order slump. "It was a very tough start for us. They bowled very well and exploited the conditions. The ball did a little more than expected," said Mommsen. "Matt and Richie batted well and showed what they are capable of, but unfortunately we couldn't go on from there and were below par. Unfortunately we couldn't get the final three wickets, but I'm very proud of the performance."