T20 World Cup: Morgan hails England as 'one of the great sides'

By Sports Desk November 13, 2022

Eoin Morgan declared England can be "regarded as one of the great sides" after T20 World Cup glory at the MCG on Sunday.

Former limited-overs England captain Morgan skippered his side to Cricket World Cup 50-over success in 2019, before falling short in the semi-finals of the T20 edition of the world competition in 2021.

The 36-year-old stepped down from his role in June, allowing Jos Buttler to take charge of the white-ball sides, and England triumphed in their captain's first tournament at the helm.

A five-wicket victory with six balls remaining over Pakistan in the final means England are now dual white-ball world champions, with Morgan suggesting Buttler's side have cemented their place in history.

"This team deserves it," Morgan said on Sky Sports. "They've been through the mill in the group stages and they've produced close to their very best against India in the semi-final.

"Jos Buttler said, 'We don't want to be known as a team just for our style of play'. We were known like that in 50 overs then won the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

"In T20 they've now won something tangible to be regarded as one of the great sides. They were excellent."

Ben Stokes, as has been the case across multiple formats in recent years, proved to be the hero with an unbeaten 52, seeing England over the line after they were reeling at 45-3 chasing 138.

From Headingley in the Ashes in 2019, to his Lord's heroics in the Cricket World Cup final earlier that year, Morgan heralded Stokes as the man for the big occasion.

"Ben is just such a special player," Morgan added. "In big games he continues to stand up for his country when his country needs him. That is such an incredible skill to have.

"When something has the potential to go awry, Ben is the guy that thinks coolly and calmly under pressure and makes brilliant decisions. He's done it so many times now.

"At certain stages of my captaincy I did take it [Stokes' role] for granted because he continued to be able to produce under pressure all the time.

"He always wants to be in the game and is that player who continually nags you to get in the high-pressure moments. It's a complete luxury to have a guy like Ben Stokes at your disposal."

While Stokes became just the third player to score 50-plus runs in both an ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup final (also Gautam Gambhir and Kumar Sangakkara), Sam Curran played an important role.

Left-arm seamer Curran picked up 1-12 from his four overs, marking his 13th scalp of the tournament – the second-most by a pacer in any single edition of the tournament (Dirk Nannes - 14 wickets in 2010).

"It [Curran's World Cup performance] is extraordinary," Morgan continued. "He really has been a find in all parts of the game. Jos Buttler has brought him on in the powerplay, used him through the middle and the biggest plus has been his death bowling.

"He has really stood up and bowled with a huge amount of skill and clarity. To produce in a World Cup final is extraordinary from someone that young. When his team needed him, Sam Curran did it today."

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    South Africa v England, January 2016, Cape Town

     

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    A post shared by Jonny Bairstow (@jbairstow21)

     

    Bairstow had a number of false dawns, including a sparkling 95 in his fourth Test against the same opposition. Four years and 18 Tests later, Bairstow had his first international hundred but it was worth the wait. This Test is remembered for Ben Stokes going supersonic but Bairstow was no shrinking violet and contributed 150 not out to a world-record stand of 399 for the sixth wicket. A couple of days before the anniversary of the death of his father David – a former England and Yorkshire cricketer – Bairstow junior cemented his spot as a Test regular. Afterwards, he said: “I was thinking of my dad, my grandfather, who passed away last year, and my family – that was for those guys.”

    England v Sri Lanka, May 2016, Leeds

    Where else but Headingley should one of Yorkshire’s favourite sons make his first Test ton at home? England were teetering on 83 for five against opponents who shocked them two years earlier. Bairstow riding to the rescue was a common theme in 2016 – his 1,470 runs remain the most by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year – and England never looked back after his swaggering 140 in 183 balls. Bairstow hit another hundred at Lord’s with an unbeaten 167 as England romped to a 2-0 series win.

    Sri Lanka v England, November 2018, Colombo

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    England v New Zealand, June 2022, Trent Bridge

    A career that had blown more cold than hot showed signs of flickering with a battling hundred in the previous winter’s Ashes that effectively spared England another 5-0 defeat. A lack of role clarity could perhaps partially explain Bairstow’s shortcomings but there was no second guessing what Stokes and McCullum wanted from him. Chasing 299 and with New Zealand resorting to bowling short, Stokes told Bairstow: “Don’t even think about trying to hit one down. Hit it into the stands.” Bairstow obliged in jaw-dropping fashion with seven sixes in a 77-ball hundred which threatened Gilbert Jessop’s long-standing record. After a run of low scores, Bairstow helped England over the line in emphatic fashion.

    England v India, July 2022, Edgbaston

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