Root backing captain Morgan to overcome malaise at World Cup

 
Frank Dalleres
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BATSMAN Joe Root has dismissed concerns over Eoin Morgan’s form on the eve of the Cricket World Cup following the England captain’s third duck in four matches.

Morgan flopped again yesterday as his side lost their final warm-up match for the tournament by four wickets to Pakistan in Sydney, plunging England back into a familiar predicament.

The Dublin-born left-hander was only made skipper of the 50-over side two months ago after predecessor Alastair Cook’s failures reached crisis point but now finds himself under similar scrutiny.

But Root has backed Morgan to rediscover the rhythm that has brought him 3,848 one-day international runs at an average of 36.30 in the crucible of Saturday’s tournament opener against the joint-hosts Australia.

“Morgs [Morgan] is one of the guys that, under the pump, when the pressure is on, you turn to. He’s done it so many times for us and I’m sure throughout this competition he’s going to score a lot of runs,” said Root.

“Everyone in the dressing room is absolutely convinced that is going to be the case. He is obviously a fine player, he’s a fine leader. There is no bigger stage than Saturday.

“I am sure he is, as much as anyone in the squad, really looking forward to getting out there and putting on a show.”

Root’s 85 was the highlight of England’s 250-8 against Pakistan, with Gary Ballance hitting 57 on his return from a broken finger but openers Alex Hales and Moeen Ali making just 31 and four respectively.

England restricted their opponents to 78-4 but a fifth-wicket stand of 133 between Misbah-ul-Haq, who hit 91 not out, and Umar Akmal helped Pakistan attain their target with seven balls to spare. Stuart Broad and James Anderson claimed two wickets apiece.