England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan has copped heavy criticism over his decision to bowl Adil Rashid in the last over of Australia’s chase in the third ODI.
Australia went into the over needing 10 runs to win with two new batsmen at the crease in tail-enders Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. Having bowled Joe Root extensively earlier in the game, Morgan had plenty of options, with only Chris Woakes bowling his full quota. Jofra Archer sent down the penultimate over so wasn’t an option but both Mark Wood and Tom Curran could have been used.
Instead, Morgan went to Rashid, who had taken 1-56 from seven overs in the game until that point, and Starc hit the leg-spinner for a six first ball before striking a four three balls later to seal a 2-1 series win for the tourists.
Michael Vaughan criticised Morgan not just for bowling Rashid at the end, but also for persisting with Root and for not going to Rashid earlier in the decisive Alex Carey-Glenn Maxwell partnership.
“I don’t think Eoin Morgan had a great night,” said Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special. “Not using Adil Rashid until Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell were both in and on about 40 and bowling Joe Root for eight overs. I know he got two wickets but I thought that was overkill. Bowling a leg-spinner in the last over when you could use a pace bowler and hide it to the long boundary.”
The criticism from users on social media was even more fierce. “That has to be Morgan’s last act as England captain,” Alan from the Isle of Wight wrote into the BBC.
That’s the first time I’ve questioned Eoin Morgan’s captaincy in ODI cricket. Okay, Carey and Maxwell’s partnership was great, but England had got them both and pace was the option in the final over. Rashid wasn’t. #ENGvsAUS
— Dominic Booth (@DomBooth19) September 16, 2020
There were some who defended the England captain’s decision.
Seeing lots of criticism being directed towards Eoin Morgan and while it’s justified to an extent, wouldn’t we be praising the decision to bowl Rashid had it gone the other way around? It’s a game of margins. It didn’t work this time. It worked for many a summers before.
— Harneet Singh Sethi (@JAHANPANAHHH) September 16, 2020
Morgan himself felt England still had a chance going into the final over, and that Rashid’s wicket-taking ability made him the right option.
“We were still in the game going into the last over. When you can break big partnerships it probably gets more difficult to bat as the game goes on and having someone like Adil Rashid gives us that option too if the game is getting away from us. Australia were just too good for us.”