Adelaide : Though England are now in the Men’s T20 World Cup semifinals, a couple of days ago, things weren’t looking bright for them to enter the last four stage. Having suffered a shock five-run defeat to Ireland and forced to split points with Australia because of a washout at Melbourne, England were behind in the race to the semifinals.
But with their backs against the wall, England produced the performances which were enough for them to get into the semifinals. Captain Jos Buttler got a sterling fifty against New Zealand and death overs orchestrated a comeback for a victory over New Zealand at The Gabba.
At Sydney, where they needed a win to book their semi-final spot from Group 1, their bowlers limited Sri Lanka to a modest total. Despite a flourishing opening stand, they suffered a wobble, before Ben Stokes’ calm head got England over the line.
Now, ahead of a semi-final clash against a formidable Indian side at Adelaide Oval, Buttler felt England were already in the groove of playing knockout cricket since the mid-way of their Super 12 phase, which would keep them in good stead on Thursday.
“We’ve played in two must-win games just before this, as well, so we’re used to that feeling of being in knockout cricket already. So we feel that we’ve gained some good confidence from those matches. The team feels in a really good space, and everyone is really excited for what’s going to be a great night,” said Buttler in the pre-match press conference.
But if Buttler were to fire again with the bat for England, he would have to get past his nemesis with the ball, India’s senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The right-arm fast bowler has dismissed Buttler five times in T20 matches, especially with all of those coming in first three overs.
“I’m always confident in my own game. I think there’s always certain bowlers that you potentially find harder than others or at certain times in your career you have good times against them or bad times against them.
I certainly don’t fear anyone. I always prepare well, and I look to play the ball in front of me and not the bowler,” added Buttler.England are also in the quest to be the only side in men’s international cricket to hold two World Cup trophies at the same time.
After winning the ODI World Cup at home in 2019, England were favourites to win 2021 T20 World Cup, only to crash out in semi-finals.Now with this being their last chance to clinch a T20 World Cup before focus shifts to defending ODI World Cup next year in India, Buttler is hoping for the trophy to be England’s by the end of the week.
“I think we all want to win things, and we all want to. Certainly don’t want to be a team that just says we played a great style of cricket. You want to have tangible things that you have achieved throughout that, as well.
Getting to semifinals and finals, the big prize is obviously standing there with the trophy at the end of the game, and that’s what we all want to achieve.””But we know that the way we play is going to give us the best chance of doing that.
We very much stick to that and have full faith and belief that if we play to the best of our abilities with the way we want to play our cricket, that’s how we’re going to get to the point of lifting more trophies.
“With the ongoing T20 World Cup forcing teams to deviate from their usual approaches due to challenging batting conditions in Australia, Buttler emphasised that England will look to take on the game and get a winning score.
“We’ll always be trying to take the game on as much as we can. In all cricket you have to adapt to the surfaces in front of you. In Australia you play on some grounds with much larger boundaries than others, so I’d assume the boundary count across the tournament is probably lower than it may be in other countries.
“So I think that’s probably been a part of the games. But no, we certainly always try and push the level if we can. That doesn’t mean we always aim for 200. On certain surfaces pushing the boundaries might be 150 instead of settling for 125 or 130.
We’ll always be trying to do that and trying to fall on the more positive side.”Buttler signed off on a cheeky note, saying that his team would try their best to shatter hopes of an India-Pakistan final at MCG. “Well, we certainly don’t want to see an India-Pakistan final, so we’ll be trying all we can do to make sure that doesn’t happen.”