Eoin Morgan has warned England not to get complacent ahead of the World Cup final after their impressive eight-wicket win against Australia.
England were on the verge of an early exit from the tournament before impressive wins against New Zealand, India and Australia propelled them into Sunday’s final.
Australia were up against it at Edgbaston half an hour into Thursday’s semi-final and turned 14/3 into just 223, a run chase that England completed with 17 overs to spare.
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England have improved with each game following their defeat against Australia in the middle of the tournament and are playing some of their best cricket, which makes them clear favourites ahead of their winner-takes-all match against New Zealand, but Morgan is calling for calm.
“I wouldn’t get too carried away yet,” he said, refusing to speculate on whether ‘it’s coming home’.
“It is obviously a very exciting time for everybody and ourselves included. I think giving ourselves the opportunity for Sunday’s final is brilliant. We’ll be giving it everything we can in order to try and win that game.
Morgan added that England have already paid the price for letting mentality get in the way of their ability, pointing towards their shock defeat against Sri Lanka and Australia in the group stage as matches to learn from.
“We know each other inside out as a team. I think the way we played against Sri Lanka wasn’t naturally performance-related, it was actually due to our application and attitude.”
Despite a relatively comfortable win in the end, England’s match against New Zealand in the group stage carried a lot of pressure given a defeat would eliminate the hosts and early favourites and Morgan admitted Sunday’s opposition was the toughest team his side have played.
“I think New Zealand throughout the whole tournament has been probably the hardest side to beat and the best side in the group stages.”
He added that New Zealand’s dramatic low-scoring defence against India in their semi-final means England must not underestimate the 2015 runners up. “I think their performance in the semi-final was probably their best. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday, so we are looking forward to it.”
England have cut a relaxed persona throughout the tournament and the management has no plans to change that ahead of their first World Cup final since 1992, Morgan saying that his players have “earned a beer and a glass of wine”.
Jonny Bairstow will go for a precautionary scan ahead of Sunday’s final after the opening batsman required treatment following an on-field injury while at the crease. “I’m not sure what it was but he seemed to move alright after it, so it is not very concerning I don’t think,” said Morgan. “It might be a niggle, we don’t know until he is scanned, but after it, he seemed to move well, so that’s a good sign.”
Bairstow’s opening partner, Jason Roy may be on the receiving end of a quiet word after he expressed his bemusement at the umpire’s decision to give him out despite replays showing no contact was made a delivery carried to the keeper, not that Morgan saw it or expects further serious punishment. “I didn’t see exactly what happened, I was on the toilet, ironically,” he revealed.
The ICC confirmed that Roy has been fined 30 per cent of his match fee and has been handed two demerit points, meaning he will not miss Sunday’s final.
Those minor hitches aside, it was a successful day for England, and one more like it will see them win their first ever World Cup.
“Everybody out there on the field and even in the changing room loved every ball that was bowled. There was no lack of commitment, application and we had a bit of a day out which, it’s cool when it happens like that, particularly when the bowlers bowl like that, it is awesome.
“The performance in the last three games, we have got better and better as a group. We talked before the tournament that we would have to do that in order to get to a semifinal and final and be contenders.”