England exceed Morgan expectations

Published: Wednesday 17th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Eoin Morgan admits his record-breaking England team are continuing to surprise even him with their new-found knack of racking up huge match-winning totals.

Morgan (113) and Joe Root (106no) put on 198 in under 27 overs as England levelled the Royal London Series at Trent Bridge with a new national-record run chase.

After Alex Hales hit 67 from just 38 balls at the top of the order, the third-wicket pair took over – and England had six overs and seven wickets to spare when they overtook New Zealand’s 349 for seven.

They had chased more than 300 successfully only twice before, and never more than 305 – yet here they set the new mark with ease, proving they can pass big targets as well as set mammoth scores after beginning the series with their all-time high 408 for nine batting first at Edgbaston last week.

Morgan talked a very good game when England first set their sights on a new era following their World Cup embarrassment last winter.

But he happily acknowledged after their latest heroics in Nottingham that he was not expecting them to reach these standards quite so quickly.

“Certainly, I’m surprised how well we have played,” said the Irishman.

“We keep putting in outstanding performances with the bat, and we’ve been very consistent.

“I’ve pushed the guys as much as I can to get as much as they can out of themselves – because to beat New Zealand, who are a quality side, we need to be at our best.

“That’s allowed us to push our limits a little bit.

“It was outstanding. It was a little bit like the Oval [last week] – the rate really never went anywhere [out of control].

“That’s a bit of a testament to the fashion we’re playing in at the moment.”

A Durham decider therefore awaits on Saturday, and Morgan knows only more of the same will suffice.

“We’ll still need to be at our best in Durham – we won’t take that for granted,” he said.

“It won’t be like this every game, or every series, but certainly we have to be good enough to execute and perform in that way.

“The last couple of years, we’ve obviously had dry spells – and been on the other side of results like this, partnerships like mine and Rooty’s.

“So it almost bridges the gap, and creates a little bit of confidence with a very young side that we’re more than capable of putting in high-class performances like this.”

Morgan himself is a glowing example, having returned spectacularly to form after his and his team’s World Cup woes with four consecutive 50s – the last this century.

He struggles for an explanation, but believes a return to the Indian Premier League before this summer might have helped him.

As for his new team-mates, he added: “At the start of the series, I said it reflected in selection the way we wanted to play – you looked at the batting line-up one to 10, all the guys playing in an aggressive manner.

“They do that pretty naturally, and that’s the reason they’re selected.

“That is the cricket we want to play to win these sorts of games.”

England appeared up against it, albeit on another wonderful batting surface, after Kane Williamson (90) had top-scored in a Kiwi innings containing two other half-centuries.

Morgan was always confident the total had not got out of hand, though.

“After the second drinks break, we got together and said if we could chase something in the region of 340 that would certainly be okay,” he said.

“They got a few more, but I wasn’t that disappointed.”

His opposite number, and IPL pal, Brendon McCullum is calling on better from his tourists to try to close out a 3-2 series win after all.

But he told Sky Sports: “It was an incredible run chase.

“I thought at half way with 350 on the board, it’s a whole lot of runs.

“We knew they were going to have to play well to beat us – and play well they did.

“To win in 44 overs, they blew us off the park again, and (they were) two great hundreds from ‘Morgs’ and Joe Root.

“We need to be better than that. But credit where credit’s due – they were too good for us today.”

Published: Wednesday 17th June 2015 by The News Editor

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