Former England captain Nasser Hussain was quick to point out that Eoin Morgan and Co. have not got their death bowling department consistently right. He added that England’s death bowling cost them the first semi-final match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup against New Zealand on Wednesday, just like it cost them the trophy of the 2016 edition of the tournament.
“Just as England’s death bowling cost them in the final of the last Twenty20 World Cup when Ben Stokes went for four sixes so it did again here on Wednesday night. It is the one aspect of their game this England team have not consistently got right. Everything had gone perfectly for England in this semi-final until the 17th over of New Zealand’s reply but Chris Jordan will be the first to admit he just got it wrong,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail on Thursday.
After making 166/4 in 20 overs, England needed to defend 57 runs off the last four overs against New Zealand at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. But Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, and Chris Woakes conceded 23, 14, and 20 runs in the next three overs respectively, tilting the match sensationally in New Zealand’s favour. Eventually, the Black Caps won by five wickets with an over to spare, reaching the final in Dubai on Sunday.
Hussain felt that with England missing a genuine death-bowling option in pacer Tymal Mills, they could have gone into the eleven with a like-for-like option in David Willey. “There is an old truism in cricket that you become a better player when you are not in the side but how Tymal Mills was missed in those closing overs. Equally, it is easy to say with hindsight that David Willey should have played once Jason Roy had been ruled out of the semi-final to give England another bowling option and a left-arm angle in the absence of Mills.”
Hussain pointed out that England shifted their lines in the death overs and that blaming Jordan entirely for the loss was not fair. “All tournament England have been bowling back of a length and trying to hit the splice of the bat and they stuck to that here. But in that decisive over Jordan either bowled wide or in the slot and Jimmy Neesham changed the course of the game.”
“I have been saying Jordan’s death bowling has not been quite as good in the last year or so and that is maybe because Eoin Morgan has gone away from the plan of bowling yorkers. But it’s not easy and anyone can go for big runs if they are fractionally off. This is not a case of Jordan costing England the World Cup and I hope people don’t interpret it that way. Someone has to put their hand up and bowl at the most difficult times when the opposition is coming at you. It just didn’t work out for him on the night.”
The 53-year-old signed off by praising Neesham and Daryl Mitchell for helping New Zealand chase down 167 on a two-paced pitch. “Credit must be given to New Zealand. They were chasing 167 on a two-paced pitch and then they quickly lost their best two batters in Williamson and Martin Guptill. But a batsman who had not opened for them in T20 cricket before this tournament in Daryl Mitchell played a match-winning inning and Neesham’s cameo sealed it for them. Fair play to them. New Zealand is a crack outfit and they pulled off a victory from the jaws of defeat here. They will take some beating in the final on Sunday.”