Eoin Morgan praised England’s character after seeing his side secure an ICC World Twenty20 berth with a pulsating 10-run victory over Sri Lanka.
England held their nerve during a tense finish in New Delhi and captain Morgan hopes to see more of the same in Wednesday’s semi-final against New Zealand.
Like their previous victories over South Africa and Afghanistan, this one could easily have gone the other way after Angelo Mathews led a Sri Lankan fightback.
Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 66 guided England to an imposing 171 for four, and England then reduced their opponents to 15 for four only for Sri Lanka captain Mathews to hit a classy half-century that got his side to within a couple of strikes of victory.
However, the impressive pairing of Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes held their nerve at the death to get England over the line.
Sussex seamer Jordan turned in two brilliant overs late on, taking three wickets for just 13 runs – with Joe Root taking a stunning catch off Dasun Chanaka that may have been the pivotal contribution.
Sri Lanka still needed 15 off the last over and Ben Stokes was magnificent in the heat of the moment, giving up just four to rubber stamp a 10-run run.
“This gives us a great deal of confidence,” said Morgan. “I think in three of our wins we’ve had to show an immense amount of character.
“This was completely different in the way we were way ahead of the game, had them four down quite early and then Angelo got them back into the game.
“It asked a completely different question of us.
“But we showed quite a lot, both with the bat and the ball. We showed we are capable of playing both smart cricket and aggressive cricket.
“I think we’ve struggled to do that in the last six to eight months or so and it’s an area we are constantly trying to improve, but today went a long way to doing that.”
Morgan had no shortage of key moments to reflect on and was keen to spread the praise among all of those who stood tall at vital times.
“They were in the game right until the end so Stokes’ last over was as crucial as it gets,” he said.
“Rooty’s catch gave us a huge lift. Wickets are priceless at that stage of the game and given that it didn’t allow the batsmen to cross was an even bigger benefit really.
“As well as Jos’ innings I thought Jason was outstanding as well. He showed great composure and when he wanted to take someone down he showed complete commitment.
“We’ll take a lot of confidence from the overall performance. We can give it a couple of days to let the dust settle, reflect on what happened and take the absolute beauties into the semi-final.”