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Morgan talks up England progress

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Eoin Morgan is confident England will continue to thrive in the one-day international arena as they prepare for the second NatWest Series clash with South Africa.

The sides are set to do battle at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow after only 5.3 overs were possible at the SWALEC Stadium on Friday.

Morgan et al will be hoping the bad weather stays away in Southampton, where England - now top of the ICC ODI rankings - will look to make it 11 50-over wins in a row having beaten Australia 4-0, West Indies 2-0 and Pakistan 4-0 in recent series.

“I think we’ve played fantastic cricket,” he said. “Whoever has stepped up has done really, really well. That’s been important to the winning run we've had, particularly against a top side like Australia.

Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan will be hoping to rediscover the form he displayed against Australia in the NatWest one-day international series against South Africa

“We've built some great blocks towards where we want to be in our progress as a one-day side. I think we have a lot of match-winners.”

Despite his positive outlook, Morgan expects to be pushed all the way by the Proteas in the next four matches.

“We’ve been exceptional on our own turf for the last year and a half but there’ll be a lot of hard work in this series because because South Africa are a huge challenge,” he said.

“Where we're at is we're a focused side, everyone knows their game plans well, everyone knows their role. But South Africa are a very formidable side too and a very successful side in the last five or six years.”

Morgan can reflect upon helping England reach the summit, especially in the recent triumph over Australia when the left-hander struck 141 runs in three innings without being dismissed.

That form has left some wondering whether a recall to the Test side is in the offing, with Morgan last seen in that environment against Pakistan earlier this year.

“You never know how far away you are,” he said.

“To be involved in the England Lions helped and gives you an indication you’re in the frame but I think I’ve got to a stage now where I don’t take anything for granted.

“If the call comes, hopefully I’ll be in a good place to take the chance.

“When anybody gets dropped they need to show that they’re in substantial form and score enough runs to justify their position in the side, show they’ve come back a better player. Looking back I’m a better player than I was at the start of the year.”

South Africa are expecting to be without Dale Steyn (neck) and Albie Morkel (ankle) tomorrow, meaning they should name an unchanged XI from the washout in Cardiff.

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