Former England captain Eoin Morgan hailed a “mind-blowingly good” performance by his former team-mates after watching them crush India to reach the T20 World Cup final.
Morgan, who retired from international cricket earlier this summer, led his side to glory in the 50-over tournament at Lord’s and knows exactly what it takes to win and lose the big moments in knockout cricket.
And he was taken aback at the dominant manner of England’s victory, sweeping high-quality opposition aside by 10 wickets and with four full overs unused.
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Alex Hales (86no) and Morgan’s successor Jos Buttler (80no) hammered the ball to all parts of the Adelaide Oval to set up Sunday’s showpiece against Pakistan.
“It was absolutely mind-blowingly good, they made a very good Indian side look ordinary,” Morgan told Sky Sports.
“It was like a big boxing bout but at two different weight divisions. That’s how it felt with Buttler and Hales going bananas at the end.
“Against big players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli they out-thought them, out-executed them and made them look an average team.”
As England engaged in some hard-earned celebrations on the outfield, Morgan also took a moment to recollect a key intervention from his head coach Trevor Bayliss at the corresponding point in 2019.
“After our semi-final win against Australia we were cracking open the beers, talking about how good we were and Trevor hauled us in and said ‘families out for a minute’,” Morgan recalled.
“He said ‘this is why Australians don’t think England are any good. You think you’ve won something when you haven’t’.
“So it’s important to take time tonight to sit back and smell the roses, acknowledge how good they’ve been, then tomorrow draw a line under it.”
Another former England skipper, Nasser Hussain, took aim at India for failing to keep up with England’s aggressive approach at the top of the innings.
Despite a powerful batting card they crawled to 38 for one in the powerplay compared to 63 for nought when Buttler and Hales were at the crease.
Hussain said: “When you see England in the first six overs there is a glaring error (from India). Hales and Buttler are playing the way they are and India are still playing old-fashioned powerplay cricket.”
He suggested the huge expectation in the stands, and the millions of passionate fans watching at home, could be acting as an anchor on their ambitions.
He added: “Pressure is a good thing, crowds are a good thing, all the TV channels and the statistics…but it can weigh you down. Players go from hero to zero very quickly.”
Michael Atherton echoed Hussain’s view about England’s approach to exploiting the fielding restrictions and suggested it sent a stark warning to Pakistan.
“The game was won and lost at the start of each powerplay,” he said.
“India basically let England’s bowlers settle and – and you can argue it’s good bowling or cautious batting – but when England came out they did not let them settle. It was a huge contrast between the two teams.
“It kind of sends a message to the team you are about to play in the final.”