England managed to scramble over the line against Afghanistan but it was a pretty lacklustre performance from the top order and shows how susceptible we are to spin on slower pitches. We seem to have these collapses and it’s not just the current team, it’s an historic problem where panic tends to set in.
On flat pitches when the ball is coming onto the bat a bit more, there is not an issue as England can play their power shots but when the conditions are testing and the ball spinning, there is a need to be a bit more canny.
Only when England were six wickets down yesterday and Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan were at the crease did we seem to adapt and realise 150 was out of reach.
The run out of Joe Root was a shambles and Ben Stokes looked like he was trying to hit every ball for six. Sometimes there is the need to knock the ball around for a few overs and then go hard at the end.
England will continue playing to their strengths and that’s to attack. The way they play spin is not going to radically change during the course of this tournament, but it’s imperative they work out how to play high-pressure situations and ensure they get to a winning score.
Shane Warne made the point that England look better chasing and need to bowl first to win the tournament. He’s right in the sense that batting is England’s stronger suit but they cannot always rely on bowling first, they have to improve their game-management.
England’s next match of the World Twenty20 is against defending champions Sri Lanka on Saturday. Victory, coupled with a West Indies win over South Africa tomorrow, would secure England’s place in the semi-finals.
not up to scratch
The clash is at the same venue as the Afghanistan tie, in Delhi, so England can expect more of the same with regard to conditions. In terms of selection, there may be a case for bringing in Hampshire’s Liam Dawson as a third spinner.
Afghanistan were susceptible to the quicker ball but that is likely to be bread and butter to the Sri Lankans on a slower pitch. Dawson is an option but it would be a big call to hand him his debut in such a huge game. It might be a gamble that pays off and he would probably be more suited to the conditions but I would be tempted to stick with a similar side, although I would bring in Alex Hales for James Vince if fit.
Seamer Liam Plunkett came into the side against Afghanistan and bowled nice and straight. England looked far too one-paced against South Africa and Reece Topley hasn’t been up to scratch so far.
While Moeen and David Willey took a lot of plaudits, Plunkett was impressive also. He conceded just 12 runs from his four overs and he adds pace and variety to the attack.