Morgan vows England will ‘stay true’ to beliefs after Pakistan heartbreak

Eoin Morgan

England captain Eoin Morgan insisted his side would stay true to their attacking style after an eight-wicket Champions Trophy semi-final thrashing by Pakistan.

Wednesday’s loss in Cardiff meant England’s wait for a first major ICC one-day international tournament triumph will continue until at least 2019 — when they stage the next World Cup.

Since their woeful first-round exit at the 2015 edition, England had won plaudits for the dynamic way they had re-invented themselves as a ‘white-ball’ side and they came into this match having won 11 of their previous 12 ODIs.

They were also the only team in the eight-nation Champions Trophy to have won all three of their group games.

But they failed to come to terms with batting on a used pitch after Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss.

England collapsed to 211 all out, with no batsman making a fifty in an innings where they could not manage a single six.

Even usually big-hitting all-rounder Ben Stokes — fresh from an unbeaten century against Australia at Edgbaston — took 64 balls to make a 34 that, remarkably, did not include a solitary boundary. 

Pakistan then cruised to their victory target, finishing on 215 for two with a massive 77 balls to spare.

But Morgan promised lessons would be learnt for two years’ time.

“One of the huge contributing factors towards topping our table and playing very good cricket in the group stages is that we’ve stayed true to what we believe in and what’s worked for us the last couple of years, and I think that’s the continued formula for the future,” the Middlesex batsman told reporters.

“I think it will have to evolve in whatever manner the game does over the next two years in the lead-in to the World Cup, but certainly I think we’re moving in the right direction.

“One of the things about knockout cricket is that you have to adapt to conditions,” the 30-year-old former Ireland star added.

“It’s a big challenge jumping from venue to venue but we’re going to have to do that with the World Cup so it’s important for us to go through games like today for our experience.”

– ‘Challenge too far’ –

Morgan, however, did give credit to Pakistan for their victory by saying: “I thought they bowled really well. They adjusted to conditions extremely well.”

But he indicated the nature of the pitch made it more like a sub-continental surface than a British one.

“I think, going into today’s game knowing that we were going to play on a used wicket potentially brought Pakistan’s game closer to their home (conditions),” he said.

“So it was a big challenge and one that was too far for us.”

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed had a simpler explanation for Wednesday’s outcome, saying: “We played very well. That’s why we won.”

– ‘Learning curve’ –

Meanwhile England coach Trevor Bayliss reckoned a semi-final exit was consistent with an ODI ranking of fourth.

“All credit to Pakistan today, they were too good for us,” Bayliss told Sky Sports.

“Two hundred and fifty or 260 would have been a good score and then it would have been a different run chase,” the Australian added.

“Our bowlers probably tried to chase the wickets too much and served up too many half-volleys.

“There’s a number of our guys who haven’t been at this level before and it is a learning curve.

“Finishing third or fourth, I think that’s about right where we sit in world cricket at the moment. 

“We’ve got a long way to go until we reach the level we want to get to and a level I believe we’re good enough to get to.”