Cricket: Morgan rues England collapse
PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 March 2018
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Eoin Morgan could only rue the collapse which cost England a one-day international series victory against New Zealand.
England’s white-ball captain is unrepentant, however, about the attacking intent which fell flat after Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root raced to 267-1 in the 38th over of the fourth ODI in Dunedin.
The tourists promptly lost their next six wickets for 21 on the way to 335-9, and then had no answer to Ross Taylor’s brilliance after New Zealand initially faltered to 2-2 in reply.
The Kiwis pulled off a five-wicket win with three balls to spare to level the series at 2-2 and set up a weekend decider in Christchurch, with Taylor unbeaten on a career-best 181 on the eve of his 34th birthday.
He outdid both Bairstow (138) and Root (102), sharing a stand of 187 with Tom Latham (71) in response to the Yorkshire pair’s 190.
Morgan did not dispute that England lost the match when four of their most powerful batsmen – including him – mustered nine runs collectively as Kiwi leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (4-58) intervened.
Asked if the collapse had been decisive, Morgan said: “Yes, it has.”
At the suggestion it was a case of over-ambition, though, he said: “I’m a big fan of over-ambition. When two guys play out of their skin – we’ve got to put the cream on the cake and the cherry on top.
“We were miles away from it. Our skill level wasn’t good enough to take risks that early – whereas it should be.”
There will be no inquest unless middle-order collapses are repeated, and certainly no recriminations.
“It’s something that’s not happened before, and is extremely disappointing,” added Middlesex’s Morgan.
“All four of us that got out for very little, all came in and were gutted, because there was a hell of a lot of hard work that was put in to get us in that position.
“It has been a one-off. We’ve certainly had collapses of the top order – in the first 10 (overs), we’ve been four or five down.
“But certainly when we’ve earned the right to push for a 370 score, we’ve not had a collapse like that.”
Asked if himself, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali had let the second-wicket pair down, Morgan said: “No, no. We win together, we lose together.
“Normally one of us has come off. That’s the way the batting order lines up, and that’s the way our template looks.
“If it continues to be a pattern we’ll look into it deeply. But everybody walking off, it’s hurting deep that we’ve not been able to capitalise on that.”
Taylor had to take the drinks buggy across the ground to his press conference as he struggled with the thigh injury which ruled him out of the previous match.
He hopes to be fit for the weekend, and agreed his 19th ODI hundred must rank among his best.
“Being there at the end, in a win, (it) has to be up there,” said Taylor.
“If they’d got to 360-370 it would have been an unrealistic target – especially at 2-2.
“We always knew we’d have to bat well but we knew it wasn’t out of our reach.”
As for his birthday plans between matches, Taylor added: “I did have a very nice bottle of wine in my suitcase which I was going to open.
“But damn it, I don’t think I can have it if I’m to give myself any chance of playing on Saturday.”