England yet again outclassed all of their competition by winning a second T20 world title last week, making them the first men’s team to hold both white ball titles at the same time.
England won the T20 World Cup against Pakistan last Sunday with Ben Stokes steering the side to a five-wicket win, ending Pakistan’s hopes of repeating their 1992 50-over World Cup victory. Stokes played a significant role in the final, making 52 from 49 balls with a target set by Pakistan of 138. With an over to spare, England managed to come out the victors after an impressive recovery from being reduced to 45-3 inside of the powerplay.
There is no doubt that this England team have so much depth in their batting line-up, and this was a facet that was clearly emphasised throughout the tournament. This strength, alongside the wealth of experience that the team possesses, generated an air of confidence going into every run chase. The talent of the squad showed their class throughout the tournament from the rapid bowling of Mark Wood to the emphatic opening partnership between Alex Hales and Jos Butler.
Of course, we should not forget the player of the tournament and man of the match in the final, Sam Curran. Curran, 24, has come to life the past couple of months with his game vastly improving which undoubtedly boosted his confidence, taking 13 wickets at an economy rate of just 6.52. Curran is so effective as a bowler as he is very much a thinking bowler, someone who reads the game very well as he understands he is not the quickest bowler. In emerging as a world-class bowler he understands his strong attributes which are his accuracy, his ability to change the pace of the ball as well being able to bowl to the dimensions of the ground.
He is also vital character in the dressing room and he has placed himself in a position where he is currently the captain, Butler’s go to death bowler. He is so impressive in the final overs matches as he seems to thrive in these high pressure situations which, married with his left arm angle, makes him a force to be reckoned with.
Alongside Curran and Wood, Adil Rashid has also been vital in the teams success as he is a one of the most reliable leg-spinners in this format. Rashid has shown his class throughout the tournament, especially starring against Sri Lanka, helping England clinch a spot in the knockout stages.
Jos Butler has a strong bowling unit which supports the impressive depth of batting that the team enjoys. Butler took over as the T20 captain from Eoin Morgan this Summer following Morgan’s retirement from international cricket. Butler had been Morgan’s eyes in the field for many years and so it was the natural progression for him to become the leader of the team on and off the field.
After Morgan’s huge successes leading the team there was a question of whether Butler would be able to put his own stamp on the squad with him taking the role on only 6 months prior to the World Cup starting. The tournament in Pakistan, which took place before the World Cup, stood him in good stead and must have given him great confidence in his leadership as his team headed to Australia for the tournament. Butler has shown calmness under pressure, and the way in which he has adapted his bowling line-up has been a clear asset for the team. In opening the batting and facing the first ball of the innings, he also sets a strong tone for the rest of the team. The captain scored three 4s in the first 6 balls that he faced in the semi-final against India, playing with such assertiveness which is refreshing to watch having not seen an England white ball captain opening the batting.
Butler, alongside the head coach, Matthew Mott, made the decision not to play Dawid Malan after he suffered a left groin tear in England’s Super 12 match against Sri Lanka. The 35-year-old left-hander missed the semi-final but managed to pass all fitness tests the day before the showpiece game. The decision was made, however, to not take the risk Malan or fast bowler Mark Wood, who was recovering from a back injury.
Malan emphasised the incredible honour it is to play for the team on the most prestigious stage, a World Cup but also how disappointed he was to miss out on the final.
“Understandably, the decision was taken not to risk Woody and me, even though we’d done what was needed. I had a few tears that night, you never know how many World Cup finals you’re going to be a part of.”
This England team seem to have a great sense of comradery and close bond which has been a huge factor in the outstanding white ball team of past few years.
England have once again continued their pretty dominant force in white ball cricket.