England's World T20 - so near, yet so far
The World T20 has finally come to a close, and what a fantastic competition we have witnessed. Few people predicted an England vs West Indies final, and even fewer predicted what would happen in the final over.
England seemed home and hosed before Carlos Brathwaite launched Ben Stokes for 24 in four balls to have his teammates flood the field and enjoy the sweetest ‘Champion Dance’ of the tournament as they became the first nation to win multiple titles.
Now we’ve finally caught our breath after arguably the greatest T20 game of all time, we can review the highlights and lowlights of the tournament for England, as well as looking ahead to the future.
There were plenty of highlights in the World T20 for England, and very few expected this talented but young team to get as far as the final; especially considering their inexperience and England’s inherently under-par performance in the last 50-over World Cup. The team will take a lot of heart from getting to the final and coming within a whisker of winning it. They’ve undoubtedly inspired the next generation of young cricketers, with sites like Talent Cricket preparing for a flood of youngsters looking to be the next Chris Gayle, Joe Root or Virat Kohli.
Despite Kohli being rightly named player of the competition, England had four players in the ICC team of the tournament, which featured Jason Roy, Joe Root, Jos Buttler and David Willey, which is indicative of just how exciting the team was to watch and how balanced the team is.
In terms of specific in-game highlights, England will be delighted by the character they showed in chasing down 229 against South Africa in the group game and will be thrilled with their death bowling against Sri Lanka, which sealed their passage to the semi-final.
However, there were also a few definite lowlights. It’s (unfortunately) impossible to skip over the disappointment of the final Ben Stokes over against West Indies in the final, where 19 should have been defended comfortably by a player of his great ability.
The form of Eoin Morgan must also be called into question. He was out first ball twice in the competition, but managed to retain his place based on his captaincy alone (not unlike his counterpart in the final Darren Sammy).
Finally, England were largely inconsistent in the tournament. Their bowling was awful against South Africa, allowing them to score 229, but brilliant against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. It’s a case of what might have been if it had all clicked at once.
What Lies Ahead
Considering how unfancied they were for the tournament, England will undoubtedly be very happy with their performance. However, to be more consistent, it’s undoubted that more T20 experience is required in the team. Jos Buttler is heading to the IPL this year, but it seems clear that more must join him in order for them to become skilled in high-pressure T20 scenarios. There’s also the Big Bash in Australia, where Adil Rashid will star once more, and the English T20 competition, which will provide great experience provided the Test players are released to play.
As proven by Ben Stokes (now christened as "Ben Chokes" by some), death bowling also remains problematic, and serious work is needed on the training ground to ensure there’s no repeat of what happened in the final.
If the team gains more T20 experience in high-pressure scenarios and improves the death bowling further, England could very well be doing their own rendition of the ‘Champions Dance’ as the confetti rains down in 2020.
© Cricket World 2016