T20 World Cup: England reaching the final would be ‘hell of an achievement’, says Eoin Morgan | Cricket News

England face New Zealand in the T20 World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.30pm – without injured opener Jason Roy; Morgan proud his team have come through numerous absences to make last four and how his diverse side act as role models for young cricketers

Last Updated: 09/11/21 3:32pm

Eoin Morgan's England side face New Zealand in Wednesday's T20 World Cup semi-final in Abu Dhabi

Eoin Morgan’s England side face New Zealand in Wednesday’s T20 World Cup semi-final in Abu Dhabi

Eoin Morgan says taking his “resilient” England side to the final of the T20 World Cup would be “one hell of an achievement” considering the injury problems and absences they have faced.

England will reach back-to-back T20 finals, and a third global ICC final in six years, if they beat New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 1.30pm.

Morgan’s men defeated the Black Caps on boundary-countback to win the 50-over World Cup at Lord’s two years ago, having gone down to West Indies in the final of the 2016 T20 World Cup when Carlos Brathwaite struck four successive sixes off Ben Stokes in the last over.

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Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran have missed the whole of the current World Cup, while England have also lost the services of Tymal Mills and Jason Roy during the tournament, with opening batter Roy the latest casualty after picking up a calf strain against South Africa last Saturday.

“You might get to the final and lose but getting to the final would be one hell of an achievement,” said Morgan, who refuted the claim his side were strong favourites to beat the Black Caps.

“We have had a number of big-name players missing. If you look at all the good things we have done, probably the strongest point has been the resilience in our squad to find a way to move forward and forge on.

A bit like Ben Stokes, Liam has the ability to contribute at any stage of the game. He plays a brand of cricket that makes it easy for him to come in and settle into the side. He is an aggressive, attacking player that wants to take the game on the whole time. His role with the bat has been extremely selfless and when he gets going he is very difficult to stop.

Eoin Morgan on Liam Livingstone

“The resilience has been exceptional. We have to acknowledge that. Guys who have come in have come in open-minded and recognised the opportunity to make a difference for this side.”

England topped Group 1 in the Super 12 stage, while New Zealand finished second in Group 2, with both sides winning four of their five matches.

Morgan said: “It’s a big achievement coming through the group like we did. Now it’s about producing as close to your best as you can.

“The guys are extremely excited about the challenge and potentially the opportunity that might follow that but we need to play really good cricket to beat New Zealand.

“We know how good New Zealand are, how consistent they have been over the last number of World Cups, even going beyond Kane’s time as captain. They have always been around semi-finals and finals.

New Zealand finished ahead of India to reach the T20 World Cup semi-finals

New Zealand finished ahead of India to reach the T20 World Cup semi-finals

“I wouldn’t say we are strong favourites. New Zealand have a full-strength squad, while we have been hampered by a lot of injuries.

“If things don’t go to plan I still think we have come a long way. One of our overall goals, for this generation of cricketer and the next, is to turn up at tournaments with genuine chances of winning.

“Regardless of the injuries we have had so far, we have still turned up believing, performing and trying to get that trophy.”

Morgan says England have decided who will open the batting with Jos Buttler in Roy’s absence but would not make that public knowledge until the day of the semi-final.

England will make a final call on the balance of their side and whether to replace Roy with a batter or bowler once they have looked at the pitch at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Morgan also stressed the importance his diverse England side place on being role models when asked about the tumult at Yorkshire following the allegations of racism made by the club’s former spinner Azeem Rafiq.

Morgan said: “Winning the 2019 World Cup and becoming a more formidable side with a bigger platform has allowed us to continue to tell our stories, feel comfortable enough in our own skin to play great cricket on the field, but also be really strong role models.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali says Azeem Rafiq's actions have made it easier for others to speak out about issues of discrimination and mental health

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England all-rounder Moeen Ali says Azeem Rafiq’s actions have made it easier for others to speak out about issues of discrimination and mental health

England all-rounder Moeen Ali says Azeem Rafiq’s actions have made it easier for others to speak out about issues of discrimination and mental health

“Throughout what has gone at Yorkshire, we have continued to chat about how it might affect younger generations. We definitely don’t shelter players from what’s going on, particularly things as serious and as relevant to our squad as anything we have ever done.

“We think of ourselves as younger cricketers. We all come from different backgrounds and want to be able to share the dream we have dreamt about for so long as kids and have been so lucky to live.

“We want young kids to be able to picture a pathway and be able to achieve. The things we do in this World Cup and beyond are very important in contributing to that.

“We embrace the diversity within our team and believe we have an edge over other teams because of the nature of our changing room and how we embrace different cultures.”

Watch England play New Zealand in the T20 World Cup semi-final, in Abu Dhabi, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 1.30pm on Wednesday.

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