Morgan: England close to perfect

Published: Tuesday 9th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Eoin Morgan hailed a ‘near perfect’ performance as England went from World Cup zeroes to record-breaking heroes against New Zealand at Edgbaston.

Brilliant centuries from Joe Root (104) and Jos Buttler (129) powered the hosts to the first 400-plus total in their 50-over history in their opening Royal London Series match.

Then Adil Rashid, who like captain Morgan also made an important half-century as each shared three-figure stands with the two centurions, doubled up with career-best bowling as well as the Kiwis folded for 198 and England won by 210 runs.

That is their highest margin of success in this format, and makes a mockery of a shambolic eight-wicket defeat on their last meeting with the World Cup finalists – in the group stages of that tournament in Wellington in February.

Morgan said: “It was outstanding.

“It was as close to the perfect performance in a one-day game as you’ll find.”

He and vice-captain Buttler both spoke recently about England’s need to play more aggressive limited-overs cricket, and to that end they recruited a new breed of young, untested players.

It was the slightly older hands who showed how things need to be done these days, though, with Rashid and Steven Finn each taking four wickets to go with all the runs.

Morgan added: “It’s happened in the first game with the new squad we’ve selected – with a lot younger guys than we’d probably like if a World Cup was round the corner.

“For a long time, we’ve talked about playing a different and aggressive brand of cricket – and today we’ve produced it.”

He knows further challenges of England’s new template lie in store, and soon too, starting with the second of five matches in this series at The Oval on Friday.

“I think the real test is going to be consistency for us,” he added.

“We didn’t have to look far for the method in which we had to play – New Zealand have done it for a few years now, and shown that playing consistently like that is possible.

“That’s going to be the challenge for us.

“But today Jos Buttler and Joe Root were outstanding, as was Adil Rashid.

“Those three guys put in match-winning performances, well-supported by Steve Finn as well.”

Morgan’s England will succeed regularly, he believes, only if they are all prepared to keep taking calculated risks and backing their ability.

“It’s a mind-set within the group, something everybody has to buy into,” he said.

“Over time, there will be ups and downs.

“Today is certainly a huge high, and a great benchmark to set.

“Given the method we used, I was so happy with it.”

England exceeded his expectations too.

“I’m as surprised as anybody,” Morgan told Sky Sports.

“I certainly know how difficult it is coming into international cricket as a youngster – but given that we’ve two or three new faces in our playing XI, I think they held themselves brilliantly.”

Man-of-the-match Buttler upped the ante again in a record seventh-wicket stand with Rashid, after Root was one of the departures in a mid-innings wobble.

Buttler said: “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the way Joe Root went and played.

“Obviously, losing a wicket first ball, he’s straight in, and I think the way he played gave everyone in the batting order a lot of confidence to go and follow his lead.”

Morgan was mightily impressed by both.

“Joe Root was outstanding, followed by an unbelievable innings from Jos Buttler,” he said.

“But obviously the longevity of what we do might take a little more time, because the key is consistency for us.

“Today is an amazing performance, but the closer we can get to that every game, the better we become.”

His opposite number Brendon McCullum was left to rue putting England in on a superb batting pitch, and to wonder at their collective improvement since he last saw them play.

“They were special performances from Joe Root and Jos Buttler,” he said.

“To post 400 in any game is outstanding. Credit to England, they blew us off the park.”

As for his decision at the toss, he added: “I think sometimes you’ve got to admit when you get it wrong, and the way the ball started holding up a little bit in the second innings probably suggested we did get it wrong.

“That was unfortunate, but I still don’t think it should take away from how outstanding they were with the bat and the ball and in the field.

“It was a complete performance from England – and we’ve got some work to do.”

Published: Tuesday 9th June 2015 by The News Editor

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