Cricket World Cup: England must not shy away from final – Eoin Morgan

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England must not “shy away” from the World Cup final against New Zealand on Sunday, says captain Eoin Morgan.

The hosts thrashed Australia by eight wickets at Edgbaston to secure their first final appearance since 1992.

“It’s a day to look forward to,” said Morgan.

“We’ve created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final and it will be a matter of trying to keep doing the same things – produce what we can in a performance, but also enjoy the day.”

England swept aside the defending champions with a magnificent performance in Birmingham, reducing Australia to 14-3 through some brilliant new-ball bowling by Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer.

Although Steve Smith’s 85 took Australia to 223 all out, England galloped to their target, winning with almost 18 overs to spare after Jason Roy crunched 85 of his own.

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“Today was close to a perfect performance,” Morgan told BBC Test Match Special. “Right from the two bowlers up front – Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer bowled a hell of a spell.

“They put pressure on with early wickets and allowed us to stay on the front foot.”

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England’s group-stage defeat by Australia left them on the brink of going out, but they have since beaten India, New Zealand and produced their best performance against their oldest enemies in front of a raucous crowd.

“We’ve got better and better as a group over the last three games,” added batsman Morgan, who made 45 not out.

“We knew we had to do that to be contenders. Today was a step further in the performance.

“Everyone on the field and in the changing room loved every ball that was bowled. There was no lack of commitment, application. We had a bit of a day out.

“It’s cool when it happens like that, particularly when the bowlers bowl like that. It’s awesome.”

England’s run to the final is part of a remarkable turnaround from the previous World Cup, when Morgan’s men were dumped out in the group stages.

“If you said to me we would reach the final after we had been knocked out of the 2015 World Cup I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Morgan.

“It sums up how far we have come in the last four years. Everyone in the changing room – the squad, all of the coaches, the backroom staff – should take a huge amount of credit.”

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‘I’m still pinching myself’

Joe Root, who finished 49 not out as he and Morgan took England to victory, said after the game that he was “still pinching” himself.

“It’s an amazing feeling – from the second ball of the day we put Australia under a lot of pressure,” Root said.

“That hundred partnership to start things off is irreplaceable. When those two boys play in that manner, it makes it very difficult for any side.”

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Archer, who dismissed Australia captain Aaron Finch with his first ball of the day and finished with figures of 2-32 from 10 overs, said England were “determined” to perform after their defeat by

“We didn’t play half the level of our ability there and everyone wanted to put that behind us and do it better today,” said Archer, whose 19 wickets in tournament is a record for an England bowler at a World Cup.

“I think that’s the first time I’ve ever got a wicket with my first ball. It just makes me feel like today was the day to do something special.

“It’s up there with one of the best days in my career, but then Sunday might be the best so I’ll save it for then.”

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The day the nation stopped working

More than 500,000 people were following the game on the BBC Sport live page when Morgan hit the winning runs, with millions tuning in throughout the day.

Thousands of you got in touch with us and a text from Ethan summed up what many England fans were thinking…

The day was historic – England’s first knockout win at a World Cup since 1992 – and certainly memorable for all England fans, even if less stressful than many expected…

Ben Wire: Best day since 2005 and the Ashes! Let’s go one better at the weekend!

Nate Steele: I can’t believe I’m watching an English sporting national team in a semi-final and I’m relaxed. It doesn’t feel right to be this relaxed.

Judging by the texts and tweets we received, the productivity of nation may have taken a hit during the game…

Alex Haworth: Cricket on in the background at work. By “in the background”, I mean I’m fully concentrating on that and nothing else.

Sam, Edinburgh: Writing a sermon for Sunday morning is going to be impossible at this rate! I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to preach this weekend! I entirely blame England’s cricketers if the congregation leave halfway through…!

Dan Everest, Leeds: I’m on a training course today via video conference, that I was allowed to do from home. Cricket is on in the ‘background’ – really hoping there’s no test at the end of this!

Some people didn’t get away with it…

James: There’s a member of staff from my office on your wallpaper for this match, he’s supposed to be off sick today… #busted

But, maybe, just maybe, this England team might be bringing new fans to the sport…

Jon: Just leaving Edgbaston. That was my first live cricket game ever having just got into the sport at 45 years old. Not a bad one to start with! I so hope we can now go on and beat the Kiwis and lift the trophy. Come on England!

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