Not taking Afghanistan for granted: England skipper Morgan

New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) England cricket skipper Eoin Morgan said Afghanistan are not mere pushovers in the World T20 and can pose a real threat in their group phase match here on Wednesday.

England have lost one of their opening two games of Group 1 and need a win to remain in the hunt for a semi-final spot. Afghanistan lost both their fixtures but have been impressive, even giving South Africa a scare before going down.

“Our priority is on winning. Tomorrow is a big game and we are certainly not taking Afghanistan for granted. First and foremost we need to get into that game with the right mindset. I think they are a dangerous side. They have played a really exciting brand of cricket,” he said at the pre-match press conference here on Tuesday.

“We watched the early stages of the tournament when they played and qualified, played some really good cricket. And we watched both games, South Africa and Sri Lanka. I think (Mohammad) Shahzad is a good batsman but it will be rude of me to single out any batsman. As a side they can be quite strong and very destructive.”

Morgan said he was wary of the Afghans having had painful experience of being shocked by “minnows” Holland in the World T20 in 2014.

“I think Holland was a unique set of circumstances, I think we were already out of the tournament. We went into the game with a particularly wrong mindset,” he added.

“Disappointment of getting knocked out of the World Cup is horrific, so coming into this game we are really fresh.

“With two more group matches left it would be naive, actually stupid, to think about the Net Run Rate. So tomorrow would be a very important game for us,” the left-hander added.

Morgan also said he wasn’t sure about the nature of the pitch on offer at the Ferozeshah Kotla but backed his side to excel irrespective of the playing conditions.

“Took a look at the pitch. Not quite sure what it is expected to do. Lots of grass on it. We will look at it tomorrow and then decide on our team combination.”

“No definite concern about the conditions. Our strength is batting as we bat deep. Conditions will dictate what we do. In the last two matches batting has contributed a lot,” he concluded.

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