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England’s Eoin Morgan and Joe Root celebrate after beating Australia on Thursday at the ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final at Edgbaston. Image Credit: Reuters

Birmingham: England skipper Eoin Morgan is delighted that despite all the hiccups and criticisms his team has reached the final. Morgan hit the winning boundary at Edgbaston to steer his team into a World Cup final after 27 years, and then pointed out: “I was three years old in 1992 when England last reached the final. We talked about wanting to get better from game to game and we wanted to set the tone from ball one and we made Australia pay.”

After their successive defeats in the round- robin stage, Morgan was often grilled with razor sharp questions, with some even asking him if he had plans to quit. But this time around it was all positive questions, including whether he had got his players to play with smiles on their faces and embrace the moment like he wanted them to do. “I think we did it, absolutely. Everybody out there on the field and even in the changing room loved every ball that was bowled. There was no lack of commitment and application. And its really cool when the bowlers bowl like that, it is awesome.”

Morgan was then reminded that it was a year ago when England was knocked out of the semi-final of the Fifa Football World Cup. Would he be able to take the ICC Cricket World Cup home? The England skipper had a loud laugh and said: “I wouldn’t get too carried away yet. It is obviously a very exciting time for everybody and ourselves included. I think giving ourselves the opportunity for Sunday’s final is brilliant. We’ll be giving it everything we can in order to try and win that game.”

At the same time he also hit out sharply at cynics of the England team when he was asked about the constant apprehension and cynicism around the England tram. “I think we’re quite cynical people, who never quite give people credit when it’s due. There’s always a different side to it. But we grow up around it. It is the way we are and we sometimes enjoy it too much.”

Morgan declared that he would embrace the coming Sunday (final) with full gusto. “I think Sunday’s not a day to shy away from, it’s a day to look forward to, much like today. We have created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final. It will be a matter of the same thing again trying to produce everything that we can performance-wise but enjoy the day.”

Morgan revealed that he had watched the India-New Zealand match and has taken note of some of the important factors in the New Zealand team. “I watched most of it right up until we trained yesterday. It was great game of cricket. I thought India were completely done and dusted after the early wickets that New Zealand took. They bowled extremely well and took their opportunities. In fact, throughout the tournament New Zealand has probably been the hardest side to beat and the best side in the group stages. But their performance in the semi-final was probably their best. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday, so we are looking forward to it.”

The fact that two of the finest Australia bowlers, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc were thrashed, does it give a special feeling? “Starc has had a very good tournament and Nathan Lyon is an exceptional Test match bowler, who can have a good day any day. The manner in which he exploited the conditions was amazing.”

Summing up their victory, he remarked, “We batted well on a very good batting wicket. Of course, things don’t come off the way we plan all the time. But we stuck to the way we play and that was satisfying.”