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Everything Morgan’s touching is turning to gold: Ian Bell

"His 102 not out against Australia was something very, very special, make no mistake about it," says Bell.

Adil Rashid
England team celebrates. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

The England team has been in rampant form and has marched into the semi-final with all three wins in the league matches. It has been a collective team effort with Alex Hales and Joe Root doing the bulk of scoring in the first two matches and the likes of Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler also coming into the party. The only concern they would have is the form of Jason Roy who will now find it tough to hold his position in the team.

Former England captain Ian Bell was all praises for the team and especially allrounder Stokes who scored a hundred in the match against Australia where at one stage they were stranded at 33/4. “What more is there to say about Ben Stokes that hasn’t already been said? Once again, he showed just why so many people are calling him the best player in the world right now. His 102 not out against Australia was something very, very special, make no mistake about it,” Bell wrote in his column for the International Cricket Council (ICC).

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Best is yet to come

Bell in his article further mentioned- And what more can we say about England? I said in my last column that the best is still to come and the exciting thing is, despite Saturday’s wonderful win, I think that still applies.

Just writing this makes me laugh. We’ve just knocked out Australia, leaving it without a win all tournament, and now head to the semi-final as the only team with a 100 per cent record. And even then, I’m sure we can get better! England is not where it wants to be just yet, and I know it’ll certainly not be getting carried away with itself and instead looking forward to the next game, but the boys can feel very happy with their progress so far.

After a shaky start from our boys, where I was starting to get a little nervous, Stokes – and a just as impressive Eoin Morgan – put on a dream partnership and blew whatever chance the Aussies had out of the water.

I feel privileged to have been there watching it live and I know the Edgbaston crowd (well, probably not the Australia supporters within it) enjoyed it just as much as me.

This, for me, was a brilliant statistic and one that should teach everyone in the game about patience and waiting for the right shot. Stokesy’s half-century was off just 39 balls. However, 20 of these balls were dots. That means he effectively scored 52 runs off just 19 balls! How’s that for taking your opportunities when they present themselves?

Morgan and Stokes’s partnership of 159 was a joy to behold and it was great to see Morgs continue his brilliant run of form.

I was told after the game that Morgs is now equal with me on most number of half-centuries (39) for England in ODI cricket. I don’t suspect I’ll be joint top for much longer! Right now, everything he’s touching is turning to gold and it’s just reward for the hard work he puts in to his game.

The bowling effort

With the ball, Adil Rashid once again had a day to remember. Wickets and total runs conceded aside, for him to finish his stint without conceding one boundary was just remarkable. He turned the screw on the Aussie batsmen and was a major, major factor in them not scoring more, and potentially taking the game beyond us.

Mark Wood deserves massive congrats as well. What a time to return your best ODI figures for England. Like Rashid, Wood deserves enormous credit for keeping England within touching distance.

It’s so encouraging to see guys like Rashid, Wood and Liam Plunkett show people that his team isn’t just about the batsmen, who’ve had most of the plaudits over the last couple of years. We’ve got genuine quality with the ball as well, and this is despite losing Chris Woakes, who we all know is a fantastic player.

What Saturday showed is just how important it is to take wickets through the middle overs to stop a team gaining too much momentum. England did that brilliantly.

The Aussies are justifiably going to be hurt by this. This tournament can’t be considered anything else but a disaster from their point of view.

For the reigning world champions to not make the knockout stages, having not won a game (though I must point out here, weather was a large contributory factor), will sting. There’ll be some frank conversations in that dressing room and knowing Australian cricketers like I do, they’ll be desperate to avenge this.

If the Ashes this winter needed any extra bite, it’s probably just got it.

As for England, it’s onwards and upwards. It wasn’t a perfect performance. They can always improve. But the most exciting part? They’ll know that more than anyone.

The article was written for icc-cricket.com

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