DURHAM, England (Reuters) – England captain Eoin Morgan said his team had played some of their best cricket in their last two group games to make the semi-finals of the World Cup after 27 years.
Back-to-back defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia had jeopardised England’s semi-final prospects but Morgan’s men bounced back in style, ending India’s unbeaten run in Birmingham and then crushing New Zealand to storm into the last four.
Morgan said the hosts would draw a lot of inspiration from their dominant performance in those games.
“I think we do tap into what we have achieved the last two games,” he said after England spanked New Zealand by 119 runs.
“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 tapping into that, identifying what we did well and if that still remains the same priority going into the semi-final, which I think it will.”
A common factor in both the victories was the flying start England got from openers Jonny Bairstow, who smashed his second successive century on Wednesday, and Jason Roy who made a roaring return from a hamstring injury in the match against India.
“We bat all the way down but those two are pushing the ceiling as to what guys can normally do,” Morgan said.
“That was part of the process in the first two years of this four-year cycle but looking at where the guys are now, it’s incredible the talent they possess.”
More than the runs they raise, Morgan was pleased with how the openers complemented each other.
“One of the things that sort of stands out for me that doesn’t happen in any normal partnership, it happens in great partnerships, is that both of them ebbed and flowed.
“Jonny got off to a flyer, Jason was quite slow to start and then caught up and Jonny slowed down.
“It was really brilliant to watch because normally you have two guys competing with each other the whole time trying to get ahead, trying to get the strike, trying to be more dominant, whereas as a partnership they are extremely dominant.”
England will play either Australia or India in their semi-final match at Edgbaston, where England have not lost in 10 matches across formats.
“Yeah, it’s a place that we really like playing,” Morgan said.
“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.”
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Leeds; Editing by Clare Fallon)