Reaching the semi-finals is not good enough, England have to fulfil their potential, insists skipper Eoin Morgan

 
Ross McLean
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England v New Zealand - ICC Champions Trophy
Seamer Jake Ball claimed two wickets as England won by 87 runs (Source: Getty)

Skipper Eoin Morgan warned his side’s Champions Trophy rivals that England are not satisfied with simply reaching the semi-finals after sealing their place in the last four with victory over New Zealand at Cardiff.

England, who were soundly beaten by the Black Caps at the 2015 World Cup, dismissed New Zealand for 223 to win by 87 runs as Liam Plunkett claimed 4-55 and fellow seamer Jake Ball and leg-spinner Adil Rashid snared two wickets apiece.

A top score of 64 by Joe Root, Jos Buttler’s rapid 61 not out and a knock of 56 from opener Alex Hales had earlier propelled England to a score of 310, which Morgan felt was substandard

But England were accomplished in the field and will return to Sophia Gardens in a weeks’ time for a semi-final showdown after a second successive win ensured they will finish top of Group A.

“If feels good to be in the semis but we are not satisfied. We feel this group has a lot of potential and we want to fulfil our potential,” said Morgan, who thought his side had fallen 15-20 runs short of a par score after failing to bat out their overs.

“We weren’t that pleased at halfway. I thought we were in a really good position to go and get 340 but we just seemed to lose wickets. The guys did the right things but today it didn’t work.”

England conclude their group-stage fixtures with a showdown with world champions Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday, a crucial game for their opponents as their qualification remains in the balance. Morgan insists there will be no easy ride.

“We’ll have a very serious attitude,” said the 30-year-old. “I think if we’re truly going to be contenders for this tournament, we need to beat the best teams and Australia are one of the best teams.”

While three of England’s top six made half-centuries and all-rounder Ben Stokes came within two runs, there was no end to opener Jason Roy’s slump in form as he was dismissed for a 23-ball 13. His last seven one-day international innings have yielded just 47 runs.

Buttler was key for England as he accelerated the scoring towards the latter stages of the innings. One scoop-shot flew out of the ground as he amassed 61 off 48 balls.

There was much to cheer about this England performance as Plunkett catapulted himself to the top of the tournament’s wicket-taking chart with eight, accounting for the final three New Zealand batsmen to be dismissed.

Ball had set the tempo by clean bowling Luke Ronchi in the first over, while Mark Wood’s clever cross-seam delivery saw off New Zealand captain Kane Williamson when on 87 and with the Black Caps looking increasingly threatening.

Wood and Ball, who also removed Ross Taylor for 39, went for less than four runs an over as Rashid’s leg-spin was also economical and accounted for Neil Broom and Mitchell Santner.

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