T20 World Cup: Five things we’ve learned as England roll on
England comfortably overcame Bangladesh by eight wickets today in Abu Dhabi. Having chosen to bat first, the Tigers were restricted to a score of 124-9 before England wrapped up the game with over five overs to spare. Here’s five things we learned from the match.
50 not out
Jason Roy featured prominently in England’s chase on his half-centenary appearance in an international T20 shirt for England. The Surrey batsman hit 61 off 38 balls as one of the two openers before being caught by Nasum Ahmed off a Shoriful Islam slow ball.
Roy’s hour at the crease saw him hit five fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 160. Having drastically improved after his 11 run contribution in England’s pursuit of the West Indies, Roy has shown himself to be able to pace his batting and pick the right moments to capitalise on sloppy bowling.
While Bangladesh looked somewhat laboured in their bowling set-up, the Durban-born right-hander steadied the ship in England’s attempts to chase down the Bangladeshi total.
Though any eight-wicket win can be deemed comfortable, England will have one obstacle to work on in the practice nets.
Of the six wickets England have given away in their opening two World Cup matches, four have come from left arm bowlers – the other two have come through a right-hander and a run out.
This may not seem significant at first reading but it provides opposition sides with what they see as a batting weakness.
With left-handers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood likely to feature in the Australian side on Saturday, England will need to make sure this weakness doesn’t become an advantage for future opposition sides.
Versatility is key
In keeping with the bowling theme, England looked very well rounded today.
A mixture of Moeen Ali’s spin, Liam Livingstone’s medium pace and Tymal Mills’ outright speed all looked successful against Bangladesh’s batting order, who were lacking confidence.
Going forward, this will give England the belief that the sticky pitches can still produce results from each of their bowling variations.
Chris Woakes, too, impressed. His spell of 1-12 is up there with England’s best from a four-over spell in T20 cricket, and included the prized wicket of Shakib Al Hasan.
England’s bowling plan
One of the most pleasing aspects of England’s thumping win was the pacing they set themselves in the field.
Despite the two wickets in the second over and the two in the 19th, the other five came at steady points in the innings.
The fifth, 10th, 12th, 14th and 17th overs all featured wickets, restricting Bangladesh’s ability to build partnerships and steady their run rate.
Intermittent wicket taking could hamper England in the coming weeks so this pacing will please captain Eoin Morgan.
The Australian danger
Australia play Sri Lanka tomorrow looking to back up their five-wicket win over South Africa last Saturday.
Though that win was somewhat unconvincing at times, any Australian side poses a threat to England.
The two nations love getting under each other’s cricketing skin and as an unofficial warm up to this winter’s Ashes Test series, it’s the first chance of gaining bragging rights this year.
Australia’s openers struggled against Sri Lanka, with a combined knock of 14, but the batting tail throughout the side will pose a threat until the very last ball.
Expect big names like Steve Smith, David Warner and Marcus Stoinis to step up their game in the face of this England.
For the English, their variety in bowling and shot choice will be key if they are to win against Australia.
But judging by their opening two performances, England’s cricketers have the confidence and momentum heading into the clash.
England play Australia at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.