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Rediff.com  » Cricket » England Wobbly: Can they defend T20 crown?

England Wobbly: Can they defend T20 crown?

Source: ANI
May 30, 2024 11:39 IST
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England

Photograph: Kind Courtesy ECB/X.com

England, the defending champions of the ICC T20 World Cup, have several areas to address if they want to defend their title successfully in the West Indies and USA from June 1 onwards.

They are placed in Group B with rivals Australia, Scotland, Namibia, and Oman. England will start their campaign against Scotland on June 4. However, at the time of writing, they have yet to win a T20I series since their triumph in Australia back in 2022.

Let us look at the Three Lions' form, key talking points, and top performers since November 2022:

England tour of Bangladesh (March 2023):

This tour of Bangladesh was disastrous for England in the shorter format. After winning the ODI series 2-1 and ending Bangladesh's seven-year win streak at home in ODIs, the Three Lions were whitewashed in the T20Is. In the first two games, England could not set big enough targets for Bangladesh, while in the final T20I, they fell 16 runs short of the 159-run target.

 

New Zealand tour of Bangladesh (August to September 2023):

This series was a mixed affair for England and ended in a 2-2 draw. England comfortably chased down 140 runs in the first T20I and blew away the Kiwis during a defense of 199 runs, with Gus Atkinson taking a four-wicket haul. However, the Kiwis bounced back in the next two games, with a disciplined bowling effort skittling out England for 128 runs while chasing 203 set with the help of Finn Allen's 83 in 53 balls. In the final T20I, they chased down 176 runs in just 17.2 overs, with Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman playing fiery knocks.

England tour of West Indies (December 2023):

Taking place after England's dismal 50-over World Cup outing, which saw them fail to defend their title and finish seventh, this series exposed the lack of preparedness and confidence among some players following such a poor World Cup campaign. In the first game, an all-round show by Andre Russell gave the West Indies a four-wicket win, while in the next, England fell 10 runs short of chasing 177 runs. The Three Lions made a huge comeback in the next two games, thanks to two superb centuries by Phil Salt to set up a decider. The fifth and final game was a low-scoring affair, with the West Indies winning by four wickets.

Pakistan tour of England (May 2024):

Two of the matches have been abandoned due to rain. England leads the series 1-0 at the time of writing. In the second T20I, Buttler's 84 in 51 balls took England to 183/7, and Reece Topley and a returning Jofra Archer delivered the goods to win it for England by 23 runs. The final T20I will be on Thursday.

Since their T20 WC win, England has played 13 T20Is, winning five and losing eight.

Talking points for England ahead of the tournament:

Great form of Jos Buttler: Besides his fine international form, Buttler has also done well in SA20 and the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year, scoring 408 runs in 11 innings with three fifties in SA20 and 359 runs in 11 games in the IPL, with two centuries.

Phil Salt is another in-form batter: Salt has been setting T20 cricket on fire ever since he smashed two back-to-back centuries against the West Indies. He followed this by scoring 435 runs in 12 matches for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL, with four half-centuries.

Poor form of T20 WC 2022 'Player of the Tournament' Sam Curran is a concern: In 2023, he made just 102 runs in seven innings at an average of 14.57, with a fifty, and took eight wickets at an average of 33.37 and an economy rate of 9.15. His best bowling figures were 2/25.

Harry Brook and Jofra Archer will be playing in a major tournament after lengthy breaks: Archer was out for more than a year due to injury, while Brook has not played any international cricket this year due to the loss of their grandmother. Though they are slowly building up their workload, it will be interesting to see how they perform in a big tournament like the T20 WC.

Top performers for England in T20Is since their T20 WC win:

Jos Buttler: 409 runs in 11 innings, 12 matches, average 40.90, strike rate 150.92, with four fifties. Best score of 84.

Phil Salt: 407 runs in nine matches at an average of 50.87 and a strike rate of 168.18, with two centuries.

Adil Rashid: 15 wickets in 13 matches at an average of 23.00 and an economy rate of 7.18, with best figures of 2/11.

Liam Livingstone: 196 runs in nine innings, 10 matches, average 32.66, a strike rate of 151-plus, with a fifty. Best score of 54. Also, has taken four wickets at an average of 38.25, strike rate of 21, with best figures of 1/9.

Rehan Ahmed: Nine wickets in seven games at an average of 25.33 and a strike rate of 16, with best figures of 3/39.

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Source: ANI

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