Despite lean run with the bat and semi-final exit, skipper wants to lead side at next year’s T20 World Cup
Morgan has endured the worst year of his T20 career with the bat in 2021, averaging 17.71 with a strike rate of 118.61 across 39 games for England, Kolkata Knight Riders, Middlesex and London Spirit and made only a limited contribution with the bat in the World Cup, with scores of 7 not out, 40, 17 and 4 not out in his four innings.
But he indicated before the tournament that he intended to stay on as captain for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, a message which he reiterated after England’s dramatic five-wicket defeat.
“I hope so,” he said, asked if he would continue as captain. “I’m still offering enough within the side. I absolutely love playing cricket at the moment for that changing room. The guys give everything. They’re at the forefront of change on and off the field and we’ve a lot of things to be proud about – I’m incredibly proud to be the leader.”
“We’re devastated,” he said. “To be on the wrong side of a close game is not easy to take. I thought we fought unbelievably well today on a wicket that didn’t necessarily suit our batting, but we managed to post in and around a par score. We were brilliant with the ball.
“We were right in the game probably until Jimmy Neesham came to the wicket, if not ahead of the game. I think throughout those innings everybody struggled to clear the ropes on both sides, and I think that was just the nature of the pitch. You have to take your hat off to him: he played really well.
“The method that New Zealand have used is obviously come hard in the powerplay, steady the ship throughout the middle and then come hard again at the end. When you take two big wickets as early as we did, you feel ahead of the game. They were trying to, I suppose, steady the ship, and I think we managed to keep them at bay for quite some time, so they did well again to wrestle back momentum and then just obviously put them in a commanding position.”
England’s death bowlers struggled with a wet ball at the end of their innings but Morgan downplayed the impact that the result of the toss and the loss of Jason Roy and Tymal Mills to injury had on the outcome.
“I don’t think it [dew] was a huge impact,” he said. “Maybe a little bit, but the Black Caps have still outplayed us. We know the dew is around. We were still right in the game. I don’t think it was a major factor, maybe an advantage slightly but not a major factor.”
“I don’t think you can put a measure on missing a player. The eleven guys that took the field today gave absolutely everything. I’m extremely proud of the performance that they put in. When you play really well, it doesn’t always guarantee that you win games. Unfortunately we found ourselves on the wrong side of a really tight game today.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98