'Would have taken 318 at halfway stage' - Eoin Morgan after England's 66-run loss to India in 1st ODI

Eoin Morgan (Image source
Eoin Morgan (Image source

England captain Eoin Morgan refused to blame his bowlers for the 66-run loss in the opening game of the three-match ODI series against India, saying that the 318-run target set by the hosts was chaseable.

Electing to bowl first after winning the toss, the English bowlers had managed to restrict India to 205-5 even after Virat Kohli (56) and Shikhar Dhawan (98) had provided a good start.

But if Eoin Morgan had entertained any hopes of restricting India to under 300, they were soon shattered as Krunal Pandya (58* off 31 balls) and KL Rahul (62* off 43 balls) punished the visitors' erratic bowling attack to add 112 runs off just 57 balls to help India reach 317/5.

Defending his bowlers' inability to take wickets in the death overs, Morgan said he did not think it was a steep target at the end of the first innings. Speaking at the post-match press conference, Eoin Morgan stated:

"It (taking wickets in the death) was definitely an area of improvement in the T20 format but I can't fault the guys today. I thought they were brilliant, they did exactly what was expected on a wicket like today. And again chasing 318, at the halfway stage or even at the beginning of the match, I would have taken that."

In reply, England got off to a rollicking start courtesy of Jonny Bairstow's (94 off 66 balls) blinder of an innings in the company of fellow opener Jason Roy (46 off 35 balls). But once Roy departed with 135 runs on the board, England's innings just unraveled and they nosedived to 251 all-out.

'The Hundred' a good opportunities for bowlers to gain better skills: Eoin Morgan

With England deciding to move on from Liam Plunkett after winning the 50-over World Cup in 2019, there have been question marks about their bowlers' ability to take wickets in the middle overs.

The 35-year-old Plunkett had performed admirably for the hosts in the ICC's showpiece event, finishing the tournament with 11 wickets from 7 matches with a stingy economy rate of 4.85.

Even in tonight's match, only Mark Wood (2/75) and Ben Stokes (3/34) were amongst the wickets while Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Sam Curran and Moeen Ali all went wicketless.

While admitting that he might look beyond the players in the current squad to solve that particular problem, Eoin Morgan pinned his hopes on the ECB's upcoming tournament, 'The Hundred', and said the the 10-over per side format of the event will help bowlers 'gain better skills' under pressure.

"I think looking at different options outside of our group can help. Tournaments like 'The Hundred', where guys will be put under pressure the whole time while possibly playing on hybrid pitches, will create a lot of pressure situations where guys can learn and gain better skills. I think if they can perform against high quality players, there's definitely a chance that we'll look at that", finished Eoin Morgan.

Edited by Rohit Mishra


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