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Morgan full of pride after England seal spot in semis

 

Century boy: Jonny Bairstow punches the air with delight after reaching his ton
Century boy: Jonny Bairstow punches the air with delight after reaching his ton

By David Charlesworth

Eoin Morgan reflected on a "pretty cool" feeling after leading England into the semi-finals of the World Cup following their 119-run thrashing of New Zealand.

It was not quite do-or-die for England at Chester-le-Street but they made certain of qualification beyond the group stage and a first last-four appearance in the tournament since 1992 with a commanding display.

Jonny Bairstow followed up his 111 against India with a supreme 106 from 99 balls to underpin a total of 305 for eight, which New Zealand never threatened to overhaul as they were all out for 186 in 45 overs.

England's campaign had been left on a knife-edge after three defeats in seven matches, but the manner in which they have seen off India and New Zealand left Morgan thoroughly satisfied.

He said: "It's pretty cool, pretty awesome. The way in which we played is more satisfying than the actual win.

"I suppose we have ridden the roller coaster of playing well, playing terribly and playing well again.

"If we had lost, it would have been drawn out for the next couple of days, so it wasn't really worth thinking about.

"I think we do tap into what we have achieved in the last two games. It's been extremely important to our campaign.

"It is obviously the reason that we have got through and we have been able to play some of our best cricket because of that.

"So we'll tap into that and identify what we did well and whether that still remains the same priority going into the semi-final, which I think it will."

England are guaranteed a third-place finish and a meeting next Thursday with either India or Australia at Edgbaston, a ground where they have won their last 10 fixtures in all formats.

Morgan added: "It's a place that we really like playing.

"If we had a choice of where we would play our group stage games, Edgbaston, The Oval and Trent Bridge would probably be the three grounds where we would have played the nine games, if it was just your own World Cup.

"So it is comforting that we are going to one of those three grounds."

Bairstow and Jason Roy once again flourished at the top of the order, laying a solid platform with a 123-run opening stand, the 10th time their union has exceeded three figures and the third in a row.

They average 62.45 together, making them among the most profitable partnerships in the history of one-day internationals.

Asked whether their presence at the crease eases their England team-mates in the dressing room, Morgan responded: "It is not really calmness, it is more excitement.

"The guys are buzzing, laughing, smiling at how ridiculous some of the shots the two guys are playing. Good balls being hit for four or six, how difficult they are to bowl at. You have got to laugh at it.

"We are not asking our guys to average 50 and strike it at 120, that is unrealistic.

"But pushing the ceiling as to what guys would normally do was part of the process in which we have gone through probably the first two years of the four-year cycle.

"But looking at where the guys are at now, it is incredible, really, the talent they possess and actually what they can achieve on a consistent basis."

Bairstow became the first Englishman to record back-to-back centuries in the World Cup, a superb innings containing 15 fours and the only six of the match.

He added: "Some people are going to be sore after those two gruelling games.

"There is bound to be some soreness, but there will be a lot of smiles this evening."

Meanwhile, Kane Williamson is hoping his side get the chance to restart their World Cup campaign in the semi-finals after limping to their third defeat in a row.

The Black Caps were unbeaten in their first six games, winning five and seeing their meeting with India washed out, but have gradually gone off the boil.

"If we are fortunate to be in a semi-final, then we do have a little bit of a break," he said.

"If you are in a knockout stage where it's a semi-final opportunity, anything can happen. We know that we haven't put out our best performance yet and we know when we do it gives us the best chance of beating anybody, without a doubt.

"It is important for us to perhaps have a couple of days away. We sort of have a bit of a break now."

Scoreboard

ENGLAND

J J Roy c Santner b Neesham 60

J M Bairstow b Henry 106

J E Root c Latham b Boult 24

J C Buttler c Williamson b Boult 11

E J G Morgan c Santner b Henry 42

B A Stokes c Henry b Santner 11

C R Woakes c W'son b Neesham 4

L E Plunkett not out 15

A U Rashid b Southee 16

J C Archer not out 1

Extras b4 lb4 w7 pens 0 15

Total 8 wkts (50 overs) 305

Fall: 1-123 2-194 3-206 4-214 5-248 6-259 7-272 8-301

Did Not Bat: M A Wood.

Bowling: Santner 10 0 65 1; Boult 10 0 56 2; Southee 9 0 70 1;Henry 10 0 54 2; de Grandhomme 1 0 11 0; Neesham10 1 41 2

New Zealand

M J Guptill c Buttler b Archer8

H M Nicholls lbw b Woakes 0

K S Williamson run out 27

L R P Taylor run out 28

T Latham c Buttler b Plunkett 57

J D S Neesham b Wood 19

C de Grandhomme c Root b Stokes 3

M J Santner lbw b Wood 12

T G Southee not out 7

M J Henry b Wood 7

T A Boult st Buttler b Rashid 4

Extras b2 lb6 w6 pens 0 14

Total (45 overs) 186

Fall: 1-2 2-14 3-61 4-69 5-123 6-128 7-164 8-166 9-181

Bowling: Woakes 8 0 44 1; Archer 7 1 17 1; Plunkett 8 0 28 1; Wood 9 0 34 3; Root 3 0 15 0; Rashid 5 0 30 1;

Stokes 5 0 10 1

England beat New Zealand by 119 runs

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