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Cricket World Cup: England’s Eoin Morgan says team on a ‘rollercoaster ride’

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By Stephan Shemilt

BBC Sport at Chester-le-Street

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Cricket World Cup highlights: England beat New Zealand to reach semi-final

England captain Eoin Morgan says his side have been on a “rollercoaster” route to the World Cup semi-finals.

Morgan’s men were on the verge of elimination after losses to Sri Lanka and Australia, but sealed a place in the last four by beating India and New Zealand.

“We have played well, played terribly, then played good again,” said Morgan.

“The group games have been inconsistent but the last two games have been some of our best.”

England began the tournament as favourites and the top-ranked side, yet came in for criticism following the defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia.

Faced with the prospect of having to beat India and New Zealand to avoid being eliminated, England responded with two impressive victories against sides also set to feature in the semi-finals.

“I don’t think we are trying to prove anybody wrong or prove a point – we’re out to enjoy ourselves,” Morgan told Test Match Special. “It’s a World Cup and we are trying to make the most of it.”

England will now play their semi-final at Edgbaston next Thursday against either India or Australia. New Zealand will finish fourth in the table and qualify for the semi-finals unless Pakistan beat Bangladesh by a near-impossible margin.

  • England thrash New Zealand to reach semi-finals
  • TMS podcast: An England semi-final, the Plunkett song and Mark Wood’s tiny hands
  • ‘Bairstow brings the noise – and the bedlam’
World Cup group table
Rank Team P W L T NR RR Pts
1 Australia (Q) 8 7 1 0 0 1 14
2 India (Q) 8 6 1 0 1 0.811 13
3 England (Q) 9 6 3 0 0 1.152 12
4 New Zealand 9 5 3 0 1 0.175 11
5 Pakistan 8 4 3 0 1 -0.792 9
6 Sri Lanka (out) 8 3 3 0 2 -0.934 8
7 Bangladesh (out) 8 3 4 0 1 -0.195 7
8 South Africa (out) 8 2 5 0 1 -0.08 5
9 West Indies (out) 8 1 6 0 1 -0.335 3
10 Afghanistan (out) 8 0 8 0 0 -1.418 0

For Morgan, the week-long break before England’s next game is welcome.

“I can’t wait to get away from a cricket field,” said the Dublin-born batsman. “The last few weeks have been extremely intense.

“We’ve gone through the highs and lows of winning and then performing at different stages. We’ll have a few days off and everyone will be encouraged to get away from the game.

England’s resurgence has been on the back of batting first in the games against India and New Zealand, while their three defeats in the tournament have come when batting second.

However, over the past four years, England have preferred to chase, and Morgan insisted that his team can still win batting first or second.

Speaking on Test Match Special, former England captain Michael Vaughan said he believes England will be world champions if they win the toss and bat in the semi-final and final.

But Vaughan said he had doubts over England in the pressure of a chase.

Of the decision to bat or field first on winning the toss, Morgan added: “All of the wickets in the tournament have got slower and lower so batting first has been the theme of the tournament.

“If that continues we will continue to bat first.”

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