Friday 20 October 2017

England's Morgan looks to rally troops for World Cup

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan

Matt Somerford

England captain Eoin Morgan has urged his team-mates to "stand up" to the next World Cup challenge of New Zealand after yesterday's humbling 111-run opening-day defeat to Australia in Melbourne.

Australia plundered 342 for nine - the highest score ever conceded by England at a World Cup. The visitors could only reply with 231 in 41.5 overs.

Australia were largely indebted to Victorian batsman Aaron Finch, who hit 135 from 128 balls on his home ground.

Next up for England in Pool A are New Zealand, who host Morgan's team in Wellington on Friday.

"If we keep testing ourselves against the best sides and learning as the tour progresses, hopefully we'll hit our straps come the quarter-finals," said Morgan. "But I think the senior players have got to stand up, myself included, and lead the way from the front.

"I think we probably let ourselves down in the field - we didn't have a great day there. I think we needed all guns firing to chase down 340," added Morgan. "That's probably the most frustrating thing. We started a little bit slowly and a bit cold, which again has been disappointing."

Reflecting on the positives, Morgan praised Steven Finn following his five-wicket haul - which included a hat-trick - and pointed to the unbeaten 98 from James Taylor.

"It was nice, a little bit surreal and it will take time for it to sink it but it's a great feeling to get a win first up," said centurion Finch. "It's always a little bit iffy the first game of the tournament and there were a few nerves about but it's nice to get that out of the way."

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