Eoin Morgan wants his England side to embrace the fact they are “living the dream” of a World Cup semi-final against Australia.
Occasions do not come much bigger for England cricketers – though a Lord’s final on Sunday would fit the bill should they win at Edgbaston – and the captain fully appreciates the scale of the opportunity.
“Sometimes I’m guilty of it, you can lose sight of the position you’re in and the fact you’re living your dream,” he said.
“I think it’s possible to play with a smile on your face tomorrow.”
Asked if his side were feeling excited, nervous or simply focused on the task at hand, he said: “All of those things. But I think excitement probably should be the dominant one.
“Everyone is excited to play this semi-final. The fact that through the group stages getting to this stage looked unlikely, or was called into question, makes it even more exciting for us.”
Morgan’s side have established a proud recent record against Australia, winning 10 of the last 11 one-day internationals between the old rivals prior to this tournament.
That counted for nothing in the group stages, when Australia claimed a 64-run win at Lord’s to nudge the hosts towards the brink.
Morgan admits England were not themselves in that match, knocked off course by a tame defeat to Sri Lanka, but feels they are now back to their best.
“We’re probably more confident than we were three games ago, we’re a different team,” he said.
“The loss against Sri Lanka hurt us. I don’t think we were playing anywhere near our best cricket, there was a hangover from the Sri Lanka game.
“It feels like we’re back to the team we are.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch cautioned against taking too much from Glenn Maxwell’s absence from nets on the eve of the World Cup semi-final clash with England.
The explosive right-hander has not been at his best in the tournament, scoring just 155 runs in nine innings in the tournament, and there have been suggestions he could be dropped.
Matthew Wade has just been approved to replace the injured Usman Khawaja in the squad and could be thrown straight into the XI.
Maxwell was not at training on the eve of the match but Finch played down the importance of his non-attendance.
“It’s a purely optional training session. You’re reading a bit too much into it,” he said.
“Maxi is someone who 50 per cent of the time comes down to optional sessions. Most of the bowlers aren’t here, Davey (Warner) isn’t here. We’ll name our side tomorrow at the toss, as usual.”
Whether or not Maxwell makes the cut at Edgbaston lies at head coach Justin Langer’s door but Finch would clearly be happy to have the all-rounder at his disposal.
“There’s runs around the corner,” said the skipper.
“He’d like to have scored more but he’s hitting the ball nicely. We know how destructive he can be when he’s in. His contributions in the field are up there with most runs saved and he got a great run out at Taunton against Pakistan. And the overs he’s bowled have been really, really key overs for us too.
“What he brings to the game is a still very exciting package.”
New Zealand had 3.5 overs to swell a position of 211 for five on the reserve day of their World Cup semi-final against India at Old Trafford.
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor contributed half-centuries on Tuesday, the latter unbeaten on 67 alongside Tom Latham (three not out), when steady drizzle turned heavier at 2pm (5pm UAE time), forcing play to be deferred to Wednesday.
International Cricket Council regulations meant the Kiwis started where they left off, with the weather set fair in Manchester half an hour before the scheduled start.
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