World Twenty20 final: Ben Stokes not to blame for England defeat - Morgan
Captain Eoin Morgan insists Ben Stokes is not to blame for England's dramatic loss to West Indies in Sunday's World Twenty20 final.
Stokes bowled the last over with the Windies needing 19 to win, only for Carlos Brathwaite to smash four sixes off the first four balls.
"It's not his fault," Morgan said of all-rounder Stokes.
"We're all in this together, we enjoy our wins and we suffer with our losses so the pain will be shared tonight."
Stokes looked forlorn after Brathwaite's heroics, the England all-rounder crouching on the ground with his head in his hands as the rest of the West Indies team stormed onto the pitch to celebrate an unlikely victory.
"Cricket can be a cruel game," added Morgan. "He is going to be devastated. It'll take its toll in the next couple of days, but we share everything we do, we stick together as a side. We share pain, we share the success. I hope in the future we have a lot more success."
Stokes later tweeted: "Overwhelmed by all the support of everyone after a disappointing last over.
"So proud to have represented my country in a World Cup final. To everyone who has supported us, thank you very much you've been awesome. Congrats to the West Indies on winning a great final."
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, former England captain Michael Vaughan said Stokes will be "hurting for a long time".
He added: "As a captain you try to talk from the heart to someone in Stokes's position and put an arm around the shoulder. You tell them they will be back stronger for the experience. But Stokes is not the sort of lad to take that kind of stuff.
"He will be spewing for a long while so you have to allow him time to hurt. He will lose sleep for days going over it in his mind, asking: 'Why didn't I do something different?' The good thing is that Stokes is young and has experienced highs and lows in his career already so he will be able to handle this in time."
Marlon Samuels, whose 85 not out from 66 balls laid the foundation for Brathwaite's winning runs, made a few digs at Stokes in a post-match news conference that saw the man of the match sit with his feet up on the table the entire time.
Samuels was fined 30% of his match fee by the International Cricket Council for "using abusive and offensive language" towards the England man, with whom he had already clashed during England's Test series against West Indies last year.
"Well, he does not learn. I keep telling him whenever we play against each other: 'Do not speak to me because I'm going to perform'. I didn't even face a ball and he had so much to say today," Samuels said.
"Stokes is a nervous lad you know. What I told Brathwaite was: 'He's going to bowl a couple of full tosses as always.' It worked in our favour and Brathwaite played a brilliant knock there."
England had given themselves a great chance of victory after slipping to 23-3 in the fifth over after being put in to bat. Joe Root scored 54 and Jos Buttler added 36 as they made 155-9 off their 20 overs.
They then had the West Indies in trouble, reducing them to 11-3 before Samuels hit form, finishing unbeaten on 85, while Brathwaite, who took 3-23 when England batted, ended 34 not out.
"We controlled the game right up to the 16th or 17th over," said Morgan. "We were in a commanding position. It's just unfortunate the way it finished."
He insisted England never became complacent, adding: "We put ourselves in a position to win, but it wasn't our day.
"I'm so proud of everybody in the squad. They have shown immense character throughout the tournament."
Asked about the resurgence of the limited-overs side, only a year after losing to Bangladesh and failing to progress beyond the group stages of the 50-over World Cup, Morgan said: "I truly believe this is only the start of something special and we have a huge amount of talent to work with.
"We have got a lot of guys who are fearless characters who don't actually spend a lot of time talking about it but just go out there and grab a game by the scruff of the neck."
England's tournament stats
|England - leading run-scorers at World T20|
|Player||Innings||Runs||Top score||Average||Strike rate|
|England - leading wicket-takers at World T20|