England Must Be United – Moeen Ali
England must stick together at the World Cup and ignore the negativity surrounding the team, says opening batsman Moeen Ali.
Following heavy defeats by Australia and New Zealand, Moeen hit 128 as England beat Scotland by 119 runs to win their first game at the tournament.
“It feels like everybody is against us and everything is negative,” he said.
“It’s very important we take all of that (negativity) away. Teams do lose but we have to stay together.”
England managed to post a score of more than 300 for the first time in the competition, which is being held in Australia and New Zealand, before bowling out their associate opponents for 184.
Steven Finn recovered from recording figures of 0-49 from two overs against New Zealand to take 3-26, while Moeen, James Anderson and Chris Woakes took two wickets apiece.
“There was a point where we thought we could get 330 or 340 but we’ve not been playing that well so we’ll take 300 at the minute,” Moeen told BBC Sport.
“It’s nice to get a couple of wickets and to bowl 10 overs too, everyone chipped in. Hopefully we can get on a run now.”
Worcestershire’s Moeen is England’s highest run-scorer at the World Cup and also has their highest batting strike-rate (117.03), while only Steven Finn and Chris Woakes have taken more wickets than the spin bowler.
The 27-year-old has become a key part of the side in all formats of the game, and captain Eoin Morgan says England are “privileged” to have him.
“I rate him really highly. He’s an all-rounder that we haven’t had for a very long time,” said Morgan.
“He’s somebody who opens the batting and plays in the fashion that he does and the purchase he gets on the ball. I think we are very privileged to have him.”
England’s next game is against Sri Lanka in Wellington on 28 February, before they round off their Pool A fixtures with matches against Bangladesh (9 March) and Afghanistan (13 March).
“I am proud of the guys, how they fronted up and performed (against Scotland),” added Morgan, who scored 46 off 42 balls. “We need a little bit more consistency in what we do. We need to be ruthless and very simple in the way we approach things.
“You can be guilty of thinking you have to play at your best throughout the tournament and hammer every side to win it.
“The games I’ve watched haven’t shown that. Strong sides have been beaten. It’s about getting points on the board and how you do it doesn’t matter.”
Morgan’s side could reach the quarter-finals just by beating Scotland, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, but former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott says there are some positives to suggest they can continue their good form against 2011 finalists Sri Lanka.
“This was a step on the ladder, only a small step, but a win is a win,” Boycott told Test Match Special. “You take it, go away with great relief and have a good night’s sleep.
“It was a possible banana skin if England lost early wickets after they’d been beaten heavily by Australia and New Zealand, but it never happened.”