Cricket: Morgan wants England to relish World Cup final pressure

England's Eoin Morgan and Joe Root celebrate after the match.
England's Eoin Morgan and Joe Root celebrate after the match.PHOTO: REUTERS

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) - Eoin Morgan urged England "not to shy away" from the pressure of the World Cup final after they stormed into the showpiece with an eight-wicket thrashing of champions Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday (July 11).

Morgan's side will face New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday, with both sides bidding to win the title for the first time.

"I think Sunday's not a day to shy away from, it's a day to look forward to, much like today," England captain Morgan said.

"We have created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final. It will be a matter of the same again, trying to produce everything that we can performance-wise."

England hammered New Zealand by 119 runs in a group stage match.

But having seen the Black Caps reduce India to 5-3 before going to achieve a surprise 18-run semi-final win on Wednesday, Morgan was taking nothing for granted against a side who will be appearing in their second successive World Cup final.

"They bowled extremely well and took their opportunities. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday, so we are looking forward to it," he said.

 
 

By getting to the final, England have assured the match will be screened on free-to-air television in Britain - the first time this has happened for one of their major home fixtures since the 2005 Ashes series.

"That's very cool," said Morgan. "Particularly given the 2005 Ashes for me was sort of the day cricket became cool. It's really good for the game and it's the game I love."

England have risen to the top of the one-day international rankings since a woeful first-round exit at the last World Cup four years ago and Thursday's success was their first win in a knockout match at the tournament since 1992, when they made the last of their three losing appearances in the final.

Morgan, asked about the cynicism surrounding England's knockout prospects, replied: "I think we're quite cynical people, who never quite give people credit when it's due.

"We grow up around it. It is the way we are and we sometimes enjoy it too much.

"I think we have learnt to enjoy ourselves, particularly days like this, even if they don't go well.

"If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of 2015 World Cup, I would have laughed at you."

'IT'S AWESOME'

England were dominant from the start at Edgbaston against Australia, who had never lost any of their previous seven World Cup semi-finals.

Despite losing the toss, England reduced Australia to 14-3, with man-of-the-match Chris Woakes striking two early blows on his way to a return of 3-20.

Although Australia recovered to 223 all out, it never looked like being enough, especially when England opener Jason Roy was blazing his way to 85 as the holders were denied an early wicket.

Morgan finished on 49 not out and hit the winning runs as England won with a mammoth 107 balls to spare.

But he was in no doubt an attack led by paceman Woakes, well supported by fast bowler Jofra Archer and with leg-spinner Adil Rashid taking three wickets, had laid the foundation for victory.

"We had a bit of a day out which, it's cool when it happens like that. Particularly when the bowlers bowl like that, it is awesome," he said.

Woakes's first ball of the match was driven for four by David Warner but the seamer had the last laugh, dismissing the left-hander for nine.

"Semi-finals are usually nervy and often tight so to win the way we did was incredible," said Woakes.

"Obviously my first ball I'd like to have back. But other than that I hit my straps well.

"To bowl them out for the total that we did was incredible."