Morgan enjoying weight of responsibility

PA Sport
Eoin Morgan smashed 71 off just 36 balls against West Indies last week
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Eoin Morgan smashed 71 off just 36 balls against West Indies last week

Eoin Morgan's senior statesman role for England has perhaps been forced on him - but is one he is relishing as crunch time approaches in the ICC World Twenty20.

England retain realistic prospects of defending their title only thanks to Saturday's much-needed win over New Zealand, and know that Monday's final Super Eight match against Sri Lanka at Pallekele could yet finish their tournament early.

England's chances are enhanced, however, by the presence of Morgan - back to form after a lacklustre year in his favoured limited-overs format. "I think the role that I play within the side has changed over the last six to 12 months," he said. "The responsibility on my shoulders is one that I enjoy."

Morgan restored England's belief, although not in victory, with his unbeaten 71 from only 36 balls against West Indies last week; then, as Luke Wright hit the most telling blows against the Kiwis, the Irishman also helped to shepherd a successful chase.

At 26, Morgan is one year Wright's junior - and has also played seven fewer Twenty20 internationals. England promoted Jonny Bairstow, to no avail, ahead of Morgan against the West Indies - and captain Stuart Broad, and the man himself, have since pointed out his suitability to batting after the six-over powerplay once the ring field retreats.

"My skills as a middle-order batter - and the stats back it up - the success I've had all guide towards batting from six to 20 overs," said Morgan. "It's a role I've thrived on. It's worked really well, and we'll stick with it.

However England deploy Morgan, they will go into the must-win match with confidence renewed after their comfortable win over the Kiwis. Morgan was especially impressed with number three Wright, who has been a revelation since returning to the team just this month.

"The way Luke played last night was fantastic," he said. "He struck the ball really, really well - as well as anyone in the tournament so far. Seeing him in the form he's in is great for us."

England know nonetheless they face no easy task against opponents with honed skills in their own climate.

"It's a great opportunity for us to test ourselves in very tough conditions," added Morgan, who is convinced England can beat anyone on their day. "We have a huge amount of match-winners. The performances from the guys last night summed that up."

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