Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 July 2019

Cricket World Cup 2019: Eoin Morgan calls on England to keep 'living the dream' against Australia

Winner of the semi-final at Edgbaston will face New Zealand for the trophy on Sunday

Eoin Morgan attends a press confierence ahead of the Cricket World Cup semi-final between England and Australia. Getty Images
Eoin Morgan attends a press confierence ahead of the Cricket World Cup semi-final between England and Australia. Getty Images

Eoin Morgan said he wants his England side to embrace the fact they are "living the dream" of a Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia.

Occasions do not come much bigger for England cricketers than the one that awaits them at Edgbaston on Thursday 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.

Meanwhile, Australia captain Aaron Finch played down the relevance of Glenn Maxwell's absence on the eve of the World Cup semi-final.

It was an optional workout, and the 30-year-old was not the only player to sit out, but it fuelled suggestions that Australia were preparing to drop him in favour of Matthew Wade, who stands to earn his first cap.

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That would represent a massive risk but Maxwell is vulnerable after managing just 155 runs in nine innings at the competition.

"It's a purely optional training session. You're reading a bit too much into it," said Finch. "Maxi is someone who probably 50 per cent of the time comes down to optional sessions. We'll name our side tomorrow at the toss, as usual."

Justin Langer broke with that practice on Tuesday though, guaranteeing Peter Handscomb would take over from Khawaja for his first appearance of the tournament.

Whatever Langer decides, Finch made clear he would be happy to have Maxwell's all-round skills at his disposal.

"I think the overall package, the three factors that he brings to the game, is still a very exciting package," he said.

"If you look at his contribution in the field he's up there with most runs saved ... he's bowled some key overs for us that have allowed us to mix and match our bowlers through them middle overs.

"As far as the runs, I'm not bothered about that at all because the way he's batting, the way that he's going about his innings. Runs are just around the corner."

Updated: July 10, 2019 06:25 PM

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