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We share the pain, we share the success: Morgan

England captain praises “exceptional” bowling, but feels team's batting let it down in World T20 final against West Indies

05 April 2016 10:30

Eoin Morgan did an excellent job of keeping his composure, not long after West Indies had prised the ICC World Twenty20 2016 trophy out of the tight grasp of the England captain and his teammates. All but out for the count with 19 required off the last six deliveries, West Indies rode on four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite off Ben Stokes to complete a famous four-wicket win, becoming the first team to win the World T20 twice.

“I’m not quite sure what I’m feeling at the moment, you’re not sure if it has actually happened,” Morgan said on Sunday (April 3) night, still struggling to come to terms with the swiftness and finality with which the game unravelled at the end. “Today, I’ve felt a range of different emotions, particularly after batting and getting a score on the board and then it was going pretty smoothly

“You could compare it to the 2012 (2013) Champions Trophy (final against India in England) when we were in a commanding position and lost the game, though conditions beat us that day more than anything,” he went on, referring to the truncated game that England seemed to have well under control until Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men fought back with decisive strikes towards the end. “It takes some beating, definitely. One of the other games I can relate to that’s been like this is South Africa (in the Super 10s in this tournament). At the halfway stage, you like to think that anything is possible, and you get it down to the wire and I’m sure the South Africans feel the same after we chased down 230.”

While this defeat, especially its manner, will take some getting used to, England will in time to come look back on this campaign with fondness and no little pride. Its entry into the final was a vindication of its no-fear approach, and Morgan said he believed the sky was the limit for this young team. “I am very proud of the players, regardless of what happened today,” he said. “Today was about letting ourselves go out and play with the freedom that we have trusted ourselves with all tour. This is the beginning of something I am hoping will be special. We have a great amount of talent to work with and I hope we can keep this group of players together as long as we can and look to the future.”

Morgan conceded that Stokes was in a state of shock after the last-over lashing from Brathwaite, but backed the feisty allrounder to bounce back sooner rather than later. “It’s quite simple from my point of view. He is going to be devastated, and it’ll take its toll over the next couple of days, but we share everything that we do, we stick together as a side, we share the pain, we share the success. I personally think we will (bounce back), this side is at the very beginning of its progression. It’s actually frightening to think what we can do if we achieve our potential, but certainly tonight, we share the pain. You can say what you like to him at the moment but he’s probably not hearing it. I have literally reiterated the exact same words.

“I can’t fault anything we did with the ball today, we were exceptional. There was a tremendous amount of belief at the halfway stage that we’d put a score on the board (155 for 9) and we were right in the game. But we let ourselves down tremendously with the bat, I thought we were terrible, probably 40 short, it was a 180-190 wicket. I thought both sides let themselves down with the bat but in the World Cup, you make what you can of it.”

While Morgan might not have anticipated four straight sixes under pressure to take the trophy away from his team, he was quick to point out that it was not impossible, as the preceding events had just showed. “It’s possible, it just happened,” he said, somehow summoning a pained smile. “Cricket can be a cruel game. I don’t think the game is ever gone. I think the physical attributes to clear the boundary, as a batsman you never feel far away.

“We did extremely well with the ball, at no stage did West Indies get ahead of where we’d have liked them to be. In fact, it was going the other way. Adil (Rashid), (Liam) Plunkett, (Chris) Jordan, (David) Willey at the start, then coming back for two wickets was outstanding. I don’t think we felt rushed at all with the ball, we had the crowd on our side and they responded to us, which was a really good thing for us. Maybe with the bat a few nerves around, a few mistakes. Alex Hales very unlucky (caught at fine-leg inside the circle in the second over), but apart from that, we didn’t play well.”

One of those that did play well with the bat was Joe Root, the No. 3 who made a sparkling half-century that was in keeping with his reputation as one of the best batsmen in the world. “Joe is an incredibly talented cricketer,” Morgan agreed. “He keeps things incredibly simple, he has great temperament, he is able to adapt to any situation. Today, he controlled himself brilliantly while we were losing wickets.”