Morgan vows England can grin all the way to the World Cup final

By Sports Desk July 10, 2019

Eoin Morgan has told England's players they are already in dreamland at the Cricket World Cup as he backed them to avoid an Edgbaston nightmare.

New Zealand, through to the Lord's final after upsetting India on Wednesday, await the winners of England's semi-final against Australia, and Morgan believes the hosts are peaking at the right time.

England were on Wednesday putting the finishing touches to preparations for Thursday's Australia clash in Birmingham, needing to step up their standard from the 64-run group-stage defeat to the same opposition.

Australia were clinical at Lord's, where Aaron Finch made a century, Jason Behrendorff took five wickets and Mitchell Starc prised out four victims, but Morgan's side have since beaten India and New Zealand.

Asked what he expected to see on the faces of his players before their critical match, Morgan said: "I think excitement probably should be the dominant [emotion]. Everybody is excited and has been the last couple of days to play this game. It's the semi-final of a World Cup.

"The fact that throughout the group stages for a while getting through to this stage looked unlikely, or was called into question, that makes it more exciting for us."

He added: "Sometimes - and I'm guilty of it - you can lose sight of the position that you are in, and the fact you are living your dream. I don't think it is impossible to play with a smile on your face."

Morgan has no doubt England can overcome the reigning world champions and he feels the country is willing his team to achieve something special.

"The amount of good faith and goodwill going around is fantastic, so we sense the support that's with us, but also the opportunity as well," said Morgan.

Australia skipper Finch danced around the question of whether all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will be dropped following a run drought.

Finch is certain the XI fielded by Australia will rise to the occasion.

"World Cups are very special, they bring out the best in the best players," Finch said. "That's why Australia have had a very rich history in World Cups. Winning four of the last five, it's been a great achievement.

"When we look at our side at the moment we are full of confidence going into this game. Obviously, England have been probably the front-runners in world cricket over the last four years, the way they have changed the game, their game plan in particular has been very aggressive, taking it to the opposition.

"We know how they are going to play, they know how we are going to play.

"We have played each other a lot over the last couple of years, so it will be whoever holds their nerves, whoever takes the half-chances, whoever starts off the game really well in the first 10 overs, whether it is with bat or ball, it will be so important for either side."

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