Eoin Morgan hails England character after beating Sri Lanka in dramatic finish

Published Add your comment

Football News

Captain Eoin Morgan believes strength of character is carrying England through a dramatic World Twenty20 after his side held their nerve against Sri Lanka to claim a semi-final spot.

England will face New Zealand in the last four after their third win in a row but, like their victories over South Africa and Afghanistan, this one could easily have gone the other way.

Having posted a target of 172 thanks to Jos Buttler (66no) and Jason Roy (42), England reduced their opponents to 15 for four only for Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews to hit a classy half-century that got his side to within a couple of strikes of a shock reversal.

Yet when the game reached its closing moments in Delhi, it was England who showed their steel.

Chris Jordan turned in two brilliant overs at the death, taking three wickets for just 13 runs - with Joe Root taking a stunning catch off Dasun Shanaka that may have been the pivotal contribution.

Sri Lanka still needed 15 off the last over and Ben Stokes was magnificent in the heat of the moment, giving up just four to rubber stamp a 10-run run.

New Zealand, who boast a 100 per cent record in the Super 10 stage, await on Wednesday but Morgan could not be more pleased with his squad's fighting spirit.

"This gives us a great deal of confidence. I think in three of our wins we've had to show an immense amount of character," he said.

"This was completely different in the way we were way ahead of the game, had them four down quite early and then Angelo got them back into the game.

"It asked a completely different question of us.

"But we showed quite a lot, both with the bat and the ball. We showed we are capable of playing both smart cricket and aggressive cricket.

"I think we've struggled to do that in the last six to eight months or so and it's an area we are constantly trying to improve, but today went a long way to doing that."

Morgan had no shortage of key moments to reflect on and was keen to spread the praise among all of those who stood tall at vital times.

"They were in the game right until the end so Stokes' last over was as crucial as it gets," he said.

"Rooty's catch gave us a huge lift. Wickets are priceless at that stage of the game and given that it didn't allow the batsmen to cross was an even bigger benefit really.

"As well as Jos' innings I thought Jason was outstanding as well. He showed great composure and when he wanted to take someone down he showed complete commitment.

"We'll take a lot of confidence from the overall performance. We can give it a couple of days to let the dust settle, reflect on what happened and take the absolute beauties into the semi-final."

One part of the blueprint that went badly wrong was the spin department.

Both Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali suffered at Mathews' hands, sharing four overs at a cost of 63 runs, though Morgan was not too harsh in his assessment.

"Bowling to a guy like Angelo, who has faced 30 balls already and is only after one agenda and of one mindset, can be very difficult," said Morgan.

"But between now and the semi-final we have to come up with some answers about how we get batsmen like that out."

The Dubliner also demurred when asked if a last-four berth exceeded expectations of his young side.

"I don't set expectations, barriers or limitations," he said.

"It's all about getting the best out of what we have and at the moment we seem to be doing that.

"If we do that from here on in we'll put ourselves in really good position."

Mathews, having carried his team on the pitch despite a hamstring injury, was also left to shoulder the media burden.

"We came so close but unfortunately we were just short of another batter in the last few overs," he said.

"Credit to the England team, the way they handled pressure and held their nerve they are deserved winners.

"There's no excuses, this is the World Cup and we've all got to perform. We haven't and we don't deserve to go to the semi-finals."

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:


Article Comments

Read more

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again