Life has come circle for English cricket and Eoin Morgan in these last four years. The revival of England’s ODI team began after a defeat at the hands of Bangladesh — their next opponents at the ICC World Cup 2019 on Saturday — which condemned them to an early exit from the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
England have steadily climbed to the top of the ODI ranking and are one of the favourites to win their first World Cup title on home soil. The quest to the crown began well with an impressive win over South Africa but the hosts were given a rude awakening after the loss in their second game against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
The next opponents will be Bangladesh at wet Cardiff on Saturday, the side who defeated England in 2011 as well.
“All we have talked about is sticking to what we do well. Even before the tournament, we talked about losing games, how we would react and what we would counter that with,” Morgan told the media in the pre-match press conference in Cardiff on Saturday.
“It goes back to focusing on ourselves and our strengths and how we can get the best out of ourselves,” he added.
The lush-green covering on the Cardiff track has been a seamer’s delight so far with New Zealand, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka paceman all enjoying the venue to the hilt. Paceman Liam Plunkett looks set for a recall to the side.
“We didn’t deserve to win the game. But we played some really good cricket, two guys scored a hundred and we nearly chased down 350. We lacked a bit in the field. And that still remains the case. Hopefully we put in a better showing in the field,” the England skipper said.
“But defeat presents a huge opportunity to learn more about your game and improve. Games where we have been defeated heavily have been the ones where we learned the most. We still managed to stay in the game, we remained in a headspace where we still believed in winning the game.
“That shows a lot more to ourselves, probably more than to our supporters, they don’t see that all the time. They see an exciting team the majority of the time. But when we lose we see our character, the other side of our game,” he added.
Bangladesh are not going to be push-overs this time around as well after stunning South Africa and pushing New Zealand all the way in a two-wicket loss.
“It is going to be a difficult game. They are a good side and I think people underestimate them. We certainly don’t,” Morgan felt.
“They are a side that has played a lot of cricket, their senior players especially have played a lot of games, more so than our senior players so they are a threat. Hopefully we can play well and overcome them. I remember them making their earliest impression, against Australia in 2005.
“Since then they have been exposed to a lot more cricket and have become a better side. We were beaten by a better team in 2015. They deserved to win that night,” he added.