Morgan wants action replay of Aus encounter

England captain Eoin Morgan knows New Zealand has the ability to defend small totals and says the host will need to replicate its near-perfect game against Australia to prevail in Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final.
Morgan wants action replay of Aus encounter


Morgan’s men dished out a ruthless performance against arch-rival Australia, bowling out the five-time champion for 223 and romping home with nearly 18 overs to spare in a lop-sided semi-final at Edgbaston. Asked if it would need to maintain a similar standard against the 2015 finalist, Morgan said: “I think we will need to, yeah. New Zealand is an extremely tough side, with a lot of experience, a lot of skill. it was the best side in the group stage and it improved, very similar to us, from the group stage to the semi-final performance. We are striving to improve on our performance.”

New Zealand is one of the two sides, along with Afghanistan, which has not posted a 300-plus total in the tournament, but successfully defended a modest 239 against India in the first semi-final. Morgan does not expect Sunday’s final to be a high-scoring contest and feels the likes of Trent Boult and Matt Henry could prove quite a handful for his batsmen.

“Throughout the tournament the scores have been a lot lower than they have previously been here in the last three or four years. Us adjusting to that has been harder work than it normally is,” Morgan said.

“New Zealand has done it brilliantly and Lord’s isn’t ever a high-scoring ground. I’d say tomorrow isn’t going to be a high-scoring ground, so it will be a bit of a battle.”

With Sunday’s match available on free-to-air television in England, Morgan acknowledged the importance of winning England’s maiden men’s 50-overs World Cup title though his focus remains on the final only. “I haven’t allowed myself to think about lifting the trophy,” said the left-handed batsman.

“Cricket and sport in particular is very fickle. If you ever get ahead, it always seems to bite you in the backside. So for us to win it, I think around the country it would be awesome, great for the game. I think quite iconic in certainly young kids’ memories if they are watching it at home and we manage to lift the trophy, it would be awesome.”

Morgan paid tribute to Brendon McCullum, saying the former New Zealand captain had made a deep impact on his leadership style. “We are close mates and he’s taught me a lot about leadership and I think in 2015 the way that New Zealand played is very similar to the way it is playing at the moment.” Morgan credited the former wicketkeeper-batsman for New Zealand’s distinct brand of cricket.

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