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T20 World Cup 2021

At long, long last, England might have Eoin Morgan back in some sort of form

by Sarah Waris 4 minute read

Eoin Morgan started his innings against Sri Lanka by fighting his way to a 20-ball 9 but did well to end with a crucial 40 in 36 deliveries. After a long wait, is the England skipper finally back in some sort of form?

The T20 World Cup clash between Sri Lanka and England was the first time the 50-over world champions were batting first in the tournament. Unbeaten thus far, the Eoin Morgan-led team were in a spot of bother at 35-3, finding themselves in an unfamiliar position after the top-order had decimated attacks in their last two games, and having only needed to chase 56 in their tournament opener against West Indies.

Sri Lanka ensured the pressure was well and truly on, with batters Jos Buttler and Morgan struggling for rhythm. The duo could only compile 25 runs in the 6.4 overs following Jonny Bairstow’s dismissal, with the skipper, in particular, struggling enough to invite criticism from a range of pundits.

Though Buttler at the other end was unable to find his groove as well, batting at 35 off 38 in the 12th over, the scrutiny was larger on Morgan, considering his recent form, including in the IPL. With some question marks over his spot in the XI prior to the tournament, his start further cast doubt over the player’s role in the side with the bat in hand.

Before the game, Morgan had scored only 89 runs in 13 T20Is in 2021 at an average of 12.71 and a strike rate of 118.66 with a high score of 28. In the last 12 months, a period in which England won 13 of their 17 T20Is, Morgan’s contributions with the bat, or the lack thereof, were glaring.

To add to that, with 133 runs in 17 matches for KKR in the 2021 IPL at an average of just 11.08, Morgan’s form was a genuine concern heading into the T20 World Cup.

However, it seems that the player just needed some time in the middle to regain his confidence. After a frustrating start, it was a four off Wanindu Hasaranga that was swept away towards short fine leg in the 14th over that seemed to break the shackles. Three more sixes followed, including a huge maximum off a short ball bowled by Dushmantha Chameera in the 17th over, as Morgan played his part in England reaching a competitive 163-4.

Morgan and Buttler eventually ended up scoring 112 together in 13 overs, with the star wicketkeeper-batter making 51 off 22 balls after reaching his half-century.

As for Morgan, whose knock will be overshadowed by Buttler when the game is discussed, the crucial 40 could just be the first sign of a return to form for the England captain. It is too early to tell for sure but every six that he hit tonight gave England supporters hope that a serious return to form is just around the corner.

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