CHRISTCHURCH: England captain Eoin Morgan was a relieved man after they posted their first points in the World Cup with a 119-run victory over Scotland in Christchurch on Monday.
“A lot of positives to take from today,” Morgan said, playing down another unproductive batting effort from England’s middle-order.
England’s win was built around a 172-run partnership between openers Moeen Ali and Ian Bell, but the pace faltered after their dismissals in quick succession, with the innings ending at 303 for eight.
Ali produced a flamboyant 128 and Bell a composed 54, but behind them came Morgan with 46 and five scores of 10 and under.
England were 172 without loss off 30 overs but only managed 131 for eight off their final 20.
“You always think you should get more than you should, but having been there for the last five overs, the wicket slowed up the older the ball got, and with the wind, as well, it made it difficult to find the boundary,” left-hander Morgan said
“That gave me confidence 300 was an above-par score,” the former Ireland international added.
Despite opening the tournament with two hidings — England suffered a 111-run loss to Australia and an even more emphatic eight-wicket defeat by New Zealand — Morgan said he always knew the tide would turn for his side.
“I don’t think there’s ever a state of panic,” he said. “Obviously we had two hard games, and the fact we didn’t perform was the most disappointing, but a win just puts things a little more at ease, and it gives guys a little bit of confidence,” he said.
The run of low scores from number three batsman Gary Ballance continued when he was out for 10 but Morgan denied that was a concern.
He backed Ballance to play himself into form as the tournament continued.
“He hasn’t had as much time at the wicket or scored as many runs as we’d have liked, but again, up until today, we had a few guys like that,” Morgan said.
But aside from the openers and Morgan’s own innings, the rest of the scoreboard read Ballance 10, Joe Root one, James Taylor 17, Jos Buttler 24, Chris Woakes one with Stuart Broad not out nought and Steven Finn not out one.
Scotland had their own batting problems after reaching 114 for three, anchored by 71 from Kyle Coetzer, and were all out for 184. (AFP)