You have to always believe because if you don't, nobody else will: Morgan

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03 Nov 2021 | 03:36 AM
authorcricket.com staff

You have to always believe because if you don't, nobody else will: Morgan

The England skipper scored 40 off 36 balls and put on a match-saving 112-run partnership with centurion Jos Buttler against Sri Lanka

Eoin Morgan looked far from his best against Sri Lanka on Monday but did play a crucial role with the bat in England's 26-run win, helping them all but confirm their place in the semifinals of the 2021 T20 World Cup. The England skipper scored 40 off 36 balls and put on a match-saving 112-run partnership with centurion Jos Buttler (67-ball 101*) to propel his team to a competitive total of 163/4 at Sharjah. England then bundled Sri Lanka out for 137 and registered their fourth straight win of the tournament.

Morgan has played 43 T20s this year but this was only his third-highest score. In 2021, the left-handed batter averages less than 18 in this format. He also had a horrible IPL 2021 with the bat, scoring just 133 runs in 16 innings at an average of 11.08. The England team management will be delighted with the fact that Morgan got some time to spend in the middle against Sri Lanka and helped his team recover after they lost three wickets in the powerplay.

“You sort of always have to believe because if you don't believe, nobody else will. I always do. Today was a bit of a tougher test. It was nice to be out there with one of my best mates enjoying ourselves - although it was quite tough - but just to get a partnership going and put something on the board to try and defend,” said Morgan.

"The guys in the powerplay seemed to hit (the ball) lower on their bat a lot. Even Jos, who's in unbelievable form, really did find it unbelievably tough and when I got to the wicket he talked about just getting something going. And even he struggled to rotate the strike. So (it was about) taking in all that information and realising how tough it is and believing it will get better or you will get a bad ball, even if you don't you're still doing the right thing and trusting the process.

"We talked about it being as hard as we'd faced just to get the ball away, never mind looking for boundaries. A normal risk-taking shot would have been sweeps, but we didn't feel sweeps were on with the guys they were bowling and the way the wicket didn't really bounce at that time, and we're thankful that we just hung in and trusted in our experience, even in really quiet overs. You know, (it was) shocking really, but we just had nowhere to go, literally nothing to do, and it was better than just slogging it up in the air.

"But it was nice being at the other end when he started getting going: he really is unbelievable. (It was) Jos being Jos. From the far end just watching him battle - not as hard as I did - but just battle, and then find rhythm after he took a couple of risks [which] made Sri Lanka bowl differently and then that worked in our favour. But without that absolutely unbelievable knock we'd have been nowhere."

Morgan did smoke three sixes in the last few overs but the 35-year-old believes he is still nowhere near his best. “Me? No, no! This ground is very challenging. Maybe if I'd have batted second I might have hit the middle of the bat a bit more but we've played games here the last month where coming in, because the ball's older, a bit darker and the bounce is really low, it's hard to get going and be free-flowing. Even the guys who came in at the end there felt the same. So the value in that partnership to try and take it longer is obviously worth it as well.

“(My acceleration) was after facing a lot of balls and they were due to bowl a bad one. But it's good, it's runs on the board, it's a contribution to winning the game and batting with one of my best mates as well."

Talking about his partnership with Morgan, Buttler said: "I think the position he bats in, in T20 cricket, forms a bit of a myth. I think today he showed an immense amount of character. He was very patient. He soaked up balls and gave himself enough time to get us to conditions, and we managed to put together a great partnership. It's never easy coming in when you've lost wickets early on and there's plenty of the game to go, but I think he certainly enjoyed getting a few out of the middle today and we're all delighted when we see him play that way.

"Myself and Morgs, we've played quite a few games now. We just tried to soak up the pressure and build a partnership. We were finding it tricky, and generally if you're finding it hard work, the guys behind you would probably find it hard work as well, so we didn't panic; we allowed ourselves time and tried to take the options against the bowlers we felt more comfortable against, and at the nets we felt more comfortable against, with one shorter side on the ground."

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ICC World Twenty20, 2021EnglandEoin MorganJos Buttler

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