Impressive England yet to play its best, believes Ian Bell

| Updated: Jun 07, 2017 20:10 IST

Cardiff [UK], June 7 (ANI): Former England batsman Ian Bell believes the Eoin Morgan-led side, who are the first team to enter the semi-finals of the ongoing Champions Trophy after their thumping win over New Zealand, are yet to play their best in the competition. "The exciting thing about this England team is that it hasn't played its best game yet. That's still to come. And the best teams save their best games for when they really matter," Bell wrote in his column for the International Cricket Council (ICC). Brilliant bowling performances from pacers Liam Plunkett and Jake Ball helped England register an emphatic 87-run victory over the Black Caps in their second Group A match of the Champions Trophy at Sophia Gardens on Tuesday. Chasing a target of 311, the Black Caps were bundled out for 223 runs in just 44.3 overs. None of the Kiwi batters, expect skipper Kane Williamson, could stay long at the crease. For England, Plunkett was pick of the bowlers as he finished with figures of 4-55 besides Man-of-the-Match Ball who gave away just 31 runs in the eight overs he bowled and picked up two wickets. Spinner Adil Rashid, who came into the side as Chris Woakes' replacement also came out with a good bowling performance and picked two crucial wickets apart from drying the runs for the New Zealand batters. "Jake Ball gave England the best possible start with that early power play wicket, doing his job perfectly, and was given Player of the Match for some terrific bowling, but my pick of the bowlers was Liam Plunkett again," said Bell. "Another four-wicket haul to his name will give him massive confidence and so it should. He's playing fantastically. On a personal note, I'm over the moon for him. Since he's been back in this team he's shown everyone just what ability he has." "He's been around the set-up for so long and I'm thrilled to see him producing the goods. Liam is a wicket-taker, pure and simple. And that's exactly what you need in 50-over cricket. It's not about preventing runs anymore, it's about going out on the attack and making things happen. He does that," he added. Earlier, put into bat, the Eoin Morgan-led side posted a decent total of 310, courtesy some blistering half centuries from Alex Hales (56), Joe Root (64) and Jos Buttler (61). All-rounder Ben Stokes also played a useful hand of 48 to help his side cross the 300 mark. "As a former England opener, I know just how much pressure Jason Roy will be under and all I can do is reiterate what I said before. I really hope England do what Eoin Morgan says they'll do and back their man. He deserves to be given time to get his game back to where we all know it can be. And with the team winning, it's the perfect opportunity to," said Bell. The former England opener termed England's Tuesday's win as complete team win. "In many ways England's 87-run victory was a complete team win, with the batsmen all largely contributing and all of our bowlers sharing the wickets. I don't think it's unfair of me to say a margin of victory like that can be considered a bit of a hammering and England will take massive confidence by booking itself a place in the 14 June semi-final in Cardiff after just two games." "It wasn't flashy, we didn't see a lot of the explosive hitting which has made this team so popular over the last couple of years, but what we did see was a real collective effort to contribute to what ultimately was a very, very impressive victory," he added. England play their last group match against Australia, which would be a do-or-die match for the Steve Smith-led side, on June 1o. (ANI)

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