Eoin Morgan promised England will stick to their typically aggressive approach after the “awesome” feeling of booking a first World Cup semi-final since 1992.
A 119-run victory against New Zealand – powered by Jonny Bairstow’s second successive century – ensured Morgan’s side will play in the second semi-final next Thursday at Edgbaston, a ground where England have won their past 10 games across all formats.
Either India or Australia will meet them but, after back-to-back wins to make it this far, the message from England’s captain is that they stick to their guns and not revert back to the tentative cricket that threatened to derail their group-stage campaign.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Morgan said. “I think we need to tap into what we have achieved the last two games against India and New Zealand. We must stick to our mantra the whole time and not actually be cagey, or desperate. It doesn’t work for us and it won’t win us the World Cup.”
New Zealand, who look set to also qualify for the Old Trafford semi‑final next Tuesday unless Pakistan can overtake their net run-rate with a huge win against Bangladesh on Friday, were always up against it after Morgan won the toss and elected to bat at Chester-le-Street.
The victory was set up by a typically bullish opening stand of 123 between Bairstow and Jason Roy that powered England to 305 for eight on an increasingly sticky pitch, before rolling New Zealand for 186 as Mark Wood claimed three for 34.
Wood’s greatest intervention came with the removal of Kane Williamson for 27. It does not go against the fast bowler’s figures, however, with the Black Caps’ captain run out at the non‑striker’s end when a driven shot by Ross Taylor touched Wood’s hand before crashing into the stumps.
Wood said: “He doesn’t know how unlucky he is because I’ve got the smallest hands for a bloke you’ve ever seen. I managed to just get a fingertip to it. He is one of the best players I’ve ever bowled at so to get him out any way you can is pretty important. It saved me bowling at him any more so I was pretty pleased.
“I got lucky. It’s not as if I deliberately palmed it back on the stumps. I was trying to actually stop it and got a little bit fortunate. But in big games, in big moments, you need them. I am pleased that in such a big game I managed to be so lucky.
”There was little fortune in the way Roy and Bairstow took apart the New Zealand attack from the outset, the former striking a 61-ball 60 before his partner went on to crack his 10th ODI century with 106 from 99 balls.
The duo average 67 from 31 innings batting together – 15 runs more than any pair to have played that number of matches – and can now lay claim to being one of the most destructive opening partnerships ever witnessed in one-day cricket.
For their captain, it is just one element of a squad that he believes has bought into the expansive game he demanded four years ago in the wake of their disastrous 2015 World Cup.
Morgan said: “Pushing the ceilings of what guys normally do was part of the process we’ve come through in the first two years of the four-year cycle. It’s incredible the talent they possess and what they can achieve on a consistent basis.”
Asked which players he was most proud of for reaching the knockout stages, Morgan replied: “Probably all of them. Some haven’t been as surprising as other guys like Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Buttler, who do extraordinary things all the time.
“But guys who have come in at the start of this four-year cycle are truly some of the best players in the world. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are some of those players. It’s been great to play with those guys and watch their journey.”