MORGAN DELIGHTED WITH THE WAY ENGLAND PLAYED TO GUARANTEE A SEMI-FINAL SPOT

  • England beat New Zealand by 119 runs to guarantee a third place in the group and a semi-final at Edgbaston 
  • Jonny Bairstow scored a second successive century to ensure a semi-final against either India or Australia 

England are in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 27 years – but it is the manner of getting there that has pleased Eoin Morgan more than the historic achievement itself.

After back-to-back defeats last month to Sri Lanka and Australia, the hosts’ top-four ambitions were hanging by a thread.

But with their backs to the wall, they came out swinging to down first India and then New Zealand on Wednesday in Durham.

The 119-run win at Chester-le-Street guarantees Morgan’s side a semi-final spot – they will face either India or Australia at Edgbaston.

And the captain admits his side’s aggressive instincts in a do or die scenarios made all the difference.  

“It’s cool, pretty awesome,” he said.  

“Like I said after the India game, the way we played is more satisfying than the actual win. We go into the next game in a lot of confidence.

“The World Cups are one-off games, so whatever the way you play, it should be the extremity of that on the day. You don’t get another chance and it has taken us time to get to grips with that.

“But we do stick to our own mantra the whole time, and not actually be cagy or desperate, it doesn’t work for us and wont win us the World Cup.”

The openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow again caught fire at the top of the order, the latter becoming the first Englishman ever to make back-to-back tons at an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

Morgan added: “We bat all the way down, but those two are pushing the ceiling as to what guys can normally do. 

“That was part of the process in the first two years of this four-year cycle.  But looking at where the guys are now. It’s incredible the talent they possess.

“It brings excitement. The guys are buzzing laughing and smiling at how ridiculous some of the shots they are able to play, good balls being hit for four or six and seeing how hard they are to bowl at.”

With an eight-day turnaround before their semi-final at Edgbaston, the team will have a few days rest now before re-convening.

And Morgan knows the importance of rest and recuperation, but also is desperate to keep the winning momentum.

“I think we do have to tap in to what we have done these last two games,” he added.

“It has been extremely important to get through, and it will be about tapping into that and identifying what we did well and seeing if that remains the priority.

“(Edgbaston) is a place we really like playing, if we had a choice of where we would play our group stage games, Edgbaston, Oval, Trent Bridge would be the three grounds. It is comforting to be going to one of those three.

“(The break) is a good thing, I can’t wait to do nothing and get distracted by other things. We rode the roller coaster of playing well, terrible and then good again. Particularly our bowlers need to get away and have a rest. We haven’t chopped and changed them all that much.”

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