How super Sam Curran turned himself into all-round sensation, as he plays an integral England role

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How super Sam Curran turned himself into all-round sensation… as the 24-year-old proves himself an integral part of England’s T20 World Cup campaign in Australia

  • Sam Curran has proved himself integral to England’s World Cup run in Australia
  • His style  has been praised by Nasser Hussain, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler 
  • Curran missed out on last year’s World Cup, and became a commentator 

Sam Curran was commentating for Sky at last year’s World Cup after a back injury ruled him out in the UAE. 

A year on and the 24-year-old is becoming England’s key man in Australia. 

Yesterday’s must-win game in Brisbane against New Zealand had eerie similarities to the semi-final the sides played last year. That night in Abu Dhabi, England threw away their hopes of the World Cup with a calamitous spell of death bowling. New Zealand needed 57 runs off 24 deliveries and got there with an over to spare. But England didn’t have Sam Curran. 

Sam Curran is proving himself as England’s key man at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia 

Fast forward a year and the equation was 57 required off 30. New Zealand had Glenn Phillips unbeaten on 56 and both Jimmy Neesham and Daryl Mitchell — the pair who combined to send England home in the Middle East.

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Neesham picked out Curran in the deep off the bowling of Mark Wood and Curran’s celebration told the story. He took the catch, turned back and roared to the crowd. He was fired up. Neesham’s 27 off 11 swung the game in New Zealand’s favour last year but here he went for six.

England now had the momentum. With 49 needed off 18, Jos Buttler turned back to Curran. In a game where England seemed ultra-flexible, this was one part of the gameplan that was never going to change.

Curran bowled the 18th and 20th against Afghanistan, taking four wickets and finishing with England’s first five-for in T20 cricket. Afghanistan collapsed from 106 for five with three overs left to 112 all out, ensuring England a comfortable chase. Against Ireland, Curran’s over in the 19th went for six runs and he took two wickets.

Curran's style of play has been hailed by columnist Nasser Hussain and colleague Eoin Morgan

Curran’s style of play has been hailed by columnist Nasser Hussain and colleague Eoin Morgan

This time, England needed the wicket of Phillips — the highest run-getter in the tournament. He had hit three sixes and four fours and was in devastating flow.

Moeen Ali must have been wondering if his dropped catch with Phillips on 15 would be fatal to England’s World Cup hopes. But Curran’s skill and the pace off the pitch did for Phillips. He skied it to Chris Jordan on the boundary rope and when Jordan is at the other end, there is only ever one result.

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‘Sam Curran thinks like an all-rounder. He’s running up as a bowler thinking what would I be doing at the other end,’ Sportsmail columnist Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports. ‘You very rarely know what he’s going to do. He mixes it up perfectly. He has a nice little box of tricks.’ 

Eoin Morgan added: ‘He has clarity in committing to whatever plan he chooses and that goes a way.’

Morgan, left, said Curran had a 'clarity' about his style of play which makes him a great talent

Morgan, left, said Curran had a ‘clarity’ about his style of play which makes him a great talent

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Curran returned to bowl the last over and finish the job off going for just five runs. But it isn’t just his brilliance at the death that shows his worth to this England side.

Against New Zealand, he bowled an over in the powerplay and an over in the middle. A shorter ball in his first over did for Finn Allen and across his four overs, none of his deliveries went for four or six.

His variety of yorkers, slower deliveries and bouncers sees him currently as the highest wicket-taker (9) in the Super 12 stage.

In five T20s since England landed in Australia, Curran has 14 wickets at nine apiece and an economy rate of just 6.9. At 5ft 9in and bowling around mid-80mph, that is testament to his ‘box of tricks.’

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With the bat, his ability to clear the boundary from ball one is partly why he has opened the batting in the IPL for MS Dhoni and the Chennai Super Kings.

England captain Jos Buttler said he loved the mindset of Curran as he wants the tough overs

England captain Jos Buttler said he loved the mindset of Curran as he wants the tough overs

Against New Zealand, his shot in the final over showed his intelligence and power as he moved to the leg side. Lockie Ferguson followed him but Curran middled it for six.

‘He’s fantastic. I love his mindset,’ said Buttler. ‘He always wants to bowl the tough overs. He wants to take wickets. I think you just forget how young he is — we’ll see him go from strength to strength.’

In a side brimming with experience and aging players, Curran’s youth and creativity could be pivotal to England going all the way in Australia. It was Ed Smith who described him as a ‘swarm harmoniser’, someone who improves the collective output of everyone around them.

Curran is now one of England’s main men. The notion they are a bowler light without Jofra Archer and Reece Topley is no more.

With Curran in the side as the attack’s best death bowler, England can afford to play an extra batter. Right now, the all-rounder is invaluable to England’s World Cup hopes.

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