Dubai: Today is the third anniversary of England winning the ICC 50-over Men’s World Cup when England beat New Zealand in one of the most thrilling of finals at Lord’s in a game, which ebbed and flowed and in the end England got their hands on the coveted trophy for the first time under Eoin Morgan in the Super over.
The template of the success of that World Cup was set in the first series against New Zealand. After a dismal performance in the 2015 World Cup, England scored 400 runs in the very first match against New Zealand and never looked back.
According to skipper Morgan the trust and freedom given by Andrew Strauss to play the new brand of aggressive, fearless cricket was instrumental in England scoring in excess of 300 for 26 times and four times scores of 400-plus, which took the other teams by surprise. Till the 2015 World Cup, England were playing the traditional, old school ODI cricket and to win the World Cup, they had to change their style.
When I had asked Morgan what was the difference in between fearless and reckless cricket, the former skipper replied that reckless cricket, specially when batting, is doing something which you would never think of doing where there is no process and methodology. But fearless cricket comes a process and methodology and the high-risk cricket comes good with process and not thinking too much about the result. And it was this mantra, which England carried on for four years with players like Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Joe Root and the captain himself backed that process and results were falling into place.
There was a crucial period in the 2019 World Cup when England had lost two games in a row — Sri Lanka and Australia — and another one to Pakistan earlier, so they had to win their next two games against India and New Zealand to qualify for semi-finals.
Morgan said that against Sri Lanka they didn’t follow the same strategy when they were chasing a low total, which was a wake-up call. The guys decided to stick to that same process in the next two games and rest was history as they beat India and New Zealand comfortably to reach the semi-finals.
They got back on track and beat Australia in the semi-finals and won comfortably. It was a dream final against New Zealand and Morgan believed the hard work put in by his team in the last four years was the reward they got by winning the close final by the barest of margins.
When Morgan was asked about India being such a strong team but not able to win the T20 World Cup since the inaugural one in 2007, Morgan was quick to respond, saying winning a World Cup requires a collective effort and on the big day, be it the semi-finals or the final, every member of the team has to put his hand up and deliver. India is not far from reaching that goal as they are a team who are very strong and playing the right brand of cricket currently under Rohit Sharma.