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Eoin Morgan thrilled as World T20 bid hots up

By Rory Dollard

England captain Eoin Morgan hailed a near-perfect performance from his side as they smashed their way to the World Twenty20 final with a seven-wicket win against New Zealand.

Jason Roy's career-best knock and some brilliant death bowling overwhelmed the Black Caps, who fell to their first defeat of the tournament with 17 balls remaining in Delhi.

After being set a below-par target of 154 - thanks mainly to the efforts of Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes - Roy took to the task immediately and crashed 78 from 44 deliveries.

Roy scored more than half of the target on his own before Joe Root (27no) and Jos Buttler (32no) finished off in a blaze of three maximums in four deliveries.

"I don't think (it could have gone any better)," Morgan said. "Maybe we could have started a little better with the ball, but I thought we did really well to peg it back after the first six or seven overs.

"Having played on this wicket before, it's harder to start than most. So continuing to take wickets throughout the back end of their innings helped us a huge amount."

England will face either India or the West Indies - who play today - in the final on Sunday and Morgan, bowled for a golden duck, added: "It's the kind of thing you dream of as a kid.

"Everybody in that changing room has worked tremendously hard and made a lot of sacrifices in order to put us in this position."

Roy, who hit 11 fours and two sixes, said: "I just felt it was a chance to go out there on a decent wicket and get off to a great start, it can be a bit of a dangerous total, so I gave it a good crack and it came off.

"The whole team has got that licence and opportunity to go out there and do what they want and be free with their skills.

"It's pretty cool. Just another game of cricket... it just happens to be at Eden Gardens in the World Cup final in front of 100,000 people.

"It's something that we're really buzzing for, it's going to be an incredible experience and we can't wait.

"It's mind blowing. There is no better feeling, the joy on everyone's faces was special and something that will stay very close to my heart for the rest of my career."

New Zealand got off to a blistering start and were 89 for one after their first 10 overs as Kane Williamson (32) and Colin Munro (46) cut loose.

But the second half of the innings belonged to England, who took seven wickets for 64 with Stokes (three for 26) and Jordan (one for 24) excelling.

Black Caps captain Williamson said: "Credit to the England bowlers for the way they have pulled it back, but I knew we were a little bit short, especially after the start we got.

"If we had got to the 180-mark, which was quite realistic, I thought it would have been a much closer game.

"We were certainly beaten by a much better team, they bowled far better than us and certainly came out very aggressively."

Roy's Surrey team-mate and former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara insists his progression from hot-headed youngster to mature cricketer will stand him in good stead in the future.

Sangakkara said: "I'm pleased for him. He deserves all that he's got. He's worked very hard. He's been knocking on that door.

"He's grown a lot as a person. When I first met him in the dressing room, he was all emotional, would smash a few bats.

"But that's been key for him to stay in control of his emotions, to stay emotionally stable - through good times and bad, success and failure - and to ensure he takes that controlled self out into the middle.

"Who knows how much more of Jason Roy we might see and who knows he might break into that Test side as well."

England Women fell just short as reigning champions Australia sealed a five-run semi-final victory in Delhi.

The Southern Stars have beaten their Ashes rivals in the last two World T20 finals and once again had enough, defending a total of 132 for six built around captain Meg Lanning's 55.

England were going well at 89 for one in the 14th over, Tammy Beaumont top-scoring with 32, but not for the first time lost wickets in cluster as the pressure mounted, to finish 127 for seven.

They needed 13 off the final over but could not muster a single boundary as Rene Farrell closed out the win.

Belfast Telegraph


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