NASSER HUSSAIN: England handled their showdown with New Zealand PERFECTLY… Jos Buttler is growing as captain, Mark Wood was special with the ball and Sam Curran has given them another dimension
- England handled the situation perfectly as they beat New Zealand on Tuesday
- Their big-game players stood up on a great night for Jos Buttler’s side
- They look one of the best four teams in the World Cup but there is work to do
- Sri Lanka will provide a tough test for England on what may be a used pitch
That was an immense show of character from England when there was so much at stake.
They handled the situation they found themselves in, after the rain and loss against Ireland in Melbourne, perfectly and I never doubted they would deliver when it really mattered against New Zealand here at the Gabba.
You were never going to keep England’s batting line-up down for too long in Australia. The moment they got to a pitch with good pace and carry in Brisbane they were always going to thrive and they reached a total I thought was above par.
England displayed immense character as they beat New Zealand in a crunch clash on Tuesday
England seemed to have learned from a similar situation in the semi-final of the Twenty20 World Cup this time last year when Daryl Mitchell smashed Chris Jordan at a crucial stage and took New Zealand over the line.
This time it was different at the death. That was a special performance from Mark Wood when he conceded just three runs from the 16th over of the New Zealand reply while Sam Curran has given England another dimension with both bat and ball. He is a finisher in the last five overs of an England innings with the bat and a finisher with the ball, too.
Every game is a knockout match now and when it came down to the pressure situations yesterday Curran showed a clarify of thought whenever he had the ball in his hand. He sticks to a plan and never second guesses himself at the crucial moments.
Mark Wood put in another special performance with the ball as England won by 20 runs
England hadn’t become a bad side in two performances at this World Cup. They had won in Pakistan, they won against Australia before the tournament and they could easily have won against Ireland had the match lasted a few balls longer.
They definitely look one of the best four sides in this competition now along with New Zealand, India and South Africa but there is still work to do.
Sri Lanka in Sydney will not be an easy proposition, especially if it is played on a used pitch on Saturday, but that is the nature of this tournament. They have to keep winning.
Jos Buttler was exceptional in everything he did. He is a genius with the bat but he is also growing as a captain. He stuck to his match ups a lot more than he has done in the past, bowling Moeen Ali for that one over at the start but then just not bowling him at all after that when the right handers in Glenn Phillips and Kane Williamson were going strong.
Sam Curran gives England another dimension and his ability with the bat and ball is a huge asset
He first showed how flexible he is by changing his thinking and batting first and that was absolutely the right thing to do. Then when England fielded he rotated six bowlers in the first seven overs, depending on who was on strike and who they would least like to face.
His keeping was outstanding with that diving catch down the leg side and, in his 100th T20 international, he went past Eoin Morgan as England’s leading runscorer in T20 cricket.
Before the game it was said England needed their big-game players to stand up and Buttler did just that. It was an excellent night for both him and his side.
Jos Buttler is growing into his role as captain as he made smart changes with the ball