The 27-year-old had come off the bench for her Games debut in Friday's opener in Birmingham, a dominant 74-22 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.
Cardwell, the goal attack/shooter for Superleague champions Manchester Thunder who is to play for Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia next season, replaced Helen Housby in the starting line-up for the second of England's first group games at the NEC.
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England are defending the Commonwealth title they won in Australia four years ago, when Housby scored their gold-clinching goal in the last second.
England were less effective against Malawi when Cardwell was off court after half-time and the former Blackpool Netball Club player may well retain her starting spot for tonight's third group B match against Northern Ireland (6pm).
Cardwell said of Saturday's display against Malawi: ““It was a really consistent performance from the whole team. It’s amazing to play in front of this crowd – they are super-loud.
“No matter if you are on a high in the game or having a little rocky patch, the crowd are all behind you every step of the way.”
New Zealand have also won their first two games in group B, while Australia and Jamaica have started strongly in group A.
The top two from both groups will qualify for the semi-finals.