World Cup 2019 final: Morgan aware of challenges of a summit clash

The World Cup has been an elusive holy grail for the Old Blighty since the championship was first played in 1975, and England skipper Eoin Morgan remains wary of the opposition.

Eoin Morgan, who is close to Brendon McCullum, revealed that he has learnt a lot from his Kiwi friend.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Nasser Hussain stood behind the assembled correspondents, near the jostling bunch of television camera-men and listened. The former England captain, now a commentator and columnist, is acutely conscious that the World Cup has been an elusive holy grail for the Old Blighty since the  championship was first played in 1975.

Perhaps he wanted to gauge the mood in the home team’s camp while history beckons and out at the high table, current skipper Eoin Morgan held centre-stage in the pre-final press conference at Lord’s here on Saturday. It helps that Morgan has met Rudyard Kipling’s twin impostors ‘triumph and disaster’, while duelling with New Zealand.

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During the 2015 edition, England suffered a miserable defeat against New Zealand at Wellington, with the former scoring a measly 123 and the latter getting those runs with Brendon McCullum leading the way.

Cut to the current World Cup, England paid back with cumulative interest and thumped the Black Caps by 119 runs in the league game at Chester-le-Street.

But a summit clash is a different beast and Morgan is aware of the challenges: “It’s a culmination of four years of hard work and it presents a huge opportunity to try and win a World Cup. We are going to enjoy the game and try and take in as much as we can, it's a World Cup final and we are not going to shy away from that.”

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While exuding confidence, Morgan remained wary of the opposition: “New Zealand is an extremely tough side, with a lot of experience and skill.” He then added: “Through the tournament, the scores have been lower than they previously were and Lord's isn't a high-scoring ground so it (final) will be a bit of a battle. They (New Zealand bowlers) offer threats throughout with the ball.”

Morgan, who is close to McCullum, revealed that he has learnt a lot from his Kiwi friend: “I think in 2015 the way New Zealand played, it is very similar to what they are playing now. They proved to everybody that you can perform at the highest level and get to the top by being yourselves and not trying to be somebody else.”

And has he dreamt about lifting the World Cup? Morgan nodded in the negative and quipped: “I haven't allowed myself to think about lifting the trophy. Cricket and sport in particular is very fickle. If you ever get ahead, it always seems to bite you in the backside.”