Wednesday 16 October 2019

Morgan tries to stay upbeat after England get bowled over by Pakistan


England's Eoin Morgan. Photo: PA
England's Eoin Morgan. Photo: PA

Rory Dollard

England captain Eoin Morgan tried his best to put a positive spin on his side's surprise, 14-run defeat to Pakistan at Trent Bridge yesterday.

Brilliant centuries from Jos Buttler and Joe Root were not enough to carry England to a record World Cup chase as Pakistan produced a stunning upset, but Morgan was philosophical.

"I don't think it was a blip. I thought all round today we weren't actually that bad. Pakistan played well," the Dubliner reasoned.

"I think throughout the tournament sides will beat each other, I don't think many sides will go unbeaten. It's going to be an extremely competitive tournament.

"Losing early wickets is not ideal, but certainly Joe and Jos kept us in the game right until the mid-40th over, which is great.

"If we got a considerable partnership going earlier on in the innings, potentially we could have got over the line.

"There are some positives to take from today to Cardiff against Bangladesh, so we're looking forward to that."

Root's 107 was the first ton of the tournament and Buttler was in irresistible form with 103 in 76 balls, but both men fell before the finish line, with Pakistan closing out a 14-run victory.

A target of 349 invited England to go where no other team had gone before at this level, and while their master batsmen were in charge it looked as though they could, should and then would make it two wins from two.

However, both departed shortly after reaching three figures, leaving too much for the lower order to do and confirming an improbable result for Pakistan, who had lost the recent series between the sides 4-0 and were fresh from a thrashing by the West Indies.

England will rue a shocking performance in the field, a litany of errors capped by Jason Roy's drop of Mohammad Hafeez that ended up costing 70 runs, yet Root had just as much luck when he was shelled on nine.

The 10-team format allows for setbacks, but England's hopes of building a head of steam have taken an early and unexpected blow.

Irish Independent

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