England might have painfully missed out on a victory in the first T20I in East London versus South Africa by the lowest possible, one-run margin but skipper Eoin Morgan believes for his boys to be part of such a closely-fought contest was a great learning experience moving towards the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
The visitors looked all set to chase down Proteas' 177/8 when opener Jason Roy and later Morgan himself were going all guns blazing; however, a middle-order collapse shifted the momentum significantly as pacer Lungi Ngidi defended 7 runs that were required by delivering an excellent last over.
"It was an outstanding game of cricket," Morgan said at the post-match presentation ceremony. "Experiences like this, particularly with a World Cup around the corner, are just so valuable to the team."
"I think we learn more about both sides when they get put a little bit more pressure," he added. "Today was a fine example of that. Both teams gave it absolutely everything and left everything on the field, but in all honesty, I thought in all three departments today we could make up more than that."
Morgan acknowledged the dearth of bilateral T20Is in the calendar for his team leading upto October's big event. But also backed the experience to come through, pointing out the fact that the core of the side that lost the final four years back to West Indies in Kolkata in the last over remains absolutely the same.
"In any given any circumstance, you've got to have the mindset of trying to win the game and trying to be as effective as you can," he further said, talking to Sky Sports. "You can say [this defeat] doesn't really matter, but I actually think it does, because when you put in performances, it gives you a huge amount of confidence, and on the back of that confidence you win games of cricket."
"Looking back on the 2016 T20 World Cup, we were beaten in the final in a dramatic fashion, but we took a lot of confidence from that tournament because we went into it as a bit of an afterthought, and learnt as much as we could. This time around, [if we learn these lessons], we'll be in a better position to counter anything that happens."
"We want guys to get absolute clarity in their positions, particularly from one to seven," Morgan added. "In the middle, at the end, in the Powerplay, whatever the circumstance might be … we want guys to feel as comfortable as they can. And to be exposed a little bit as well."
(Inputs from ESPNcricinfo)