England beat Pakistan by five wickets in the final in Melbourne to win the Men’s T20 World Cup. It is England’s second T20 world title following its victory in the West Indies in 2010.
England’s command over white-ball cricket since its unceremonious exit from the 2015 50-over World Cup has been nothing short of phenomenal. The team was runner-up in the 2016 T20 World Cup, semifinalist in the 2021 edition, reached the semifinals of the 2017 Champions Trophy and became the 50-over World Cup champion in 2019.
England’s success in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia can be attributed to its pragmatism and an aggressive approach that have come to define its shorter-format dominance. Here are the reasons why Jos Buttler & Co. came out on top Down Under.
Using ground dimensions wisely
Two back-to-back T20 World Cups in the UAE and Australia meant teams had to contend with significantly larger boundary sizes. In the semifinal and the final, English bowlers used the ground dimensions to their advantage and choked the opposition’s scoring rate.
Against India at Adelaide, a venue with short square boundaries, they predominantly bowled full to prevent Indian batters from targeting short square boundaries. But in the final in Melbourne, they switched to shorter lengths, bowling into the pitch against Pakistan batters to exploit the big square fences.
Pakistan batters had their fair share of troubles facing the short ball in this World Cup and that weakness was exposed by India in its campaign opener at the MCG when its bowlers removed half the Pakistan side by resorting to short balls. English all-rounder Sam Curran took 3 for 12 in the final. In two of those three, dismissals of Shan Masood and Mohammad Nawaz, Curran used the MCG’s vast square boundaries to his advantage.
Batting depth and firepower
Such was England’s depth in the World Cup that it could afford the luxury of seven bowling options without compromising on its batting. It had the highest Powerplay run-rate in this World Cup, scoring at 8.52 runs per over. The inclement weather in Australia and the barnstorming form of English top-order meant only three England batters ended up facing more than 100 balls in this World Cup — Buttler (156), Alex Hales (144), and Ben Stokes (104). But the assurance of power-hitters in an albeit undercooked middle-order meant Buttler and Hales could maximise runscoring during the batting Powerplay.
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The two immediate benefits were on display in the knockouts. Against India in the semifinal, the openers raced to 63 in the first 36 balls. And even in the final, despite being up against the most probing pace attack in Pakistan and losing three wickets, the intent from Buttler meant England didn’t ditch the no-holds-barred approach in a high-pressure match. A great example of this was the fifth over of England’s chase when Buttler was beaten thrice by Naseem Shah before moving across the stumps to scoop a full ball over fine leg for six.
Sam Curran’s deadly death-bowling
Sam Curran’s clever use of angles and change in lines made him tough to get away with between overs 17 and 20. Nine of his 11 wickets were at the death, where he conceded 6.77 rpo and averaged a staggering 7.77. Curran’s performance formed the crux of England’s death-bowling and it earned the side 23 wickets — the most wickets taken by any team in that phase in the 2022 edition. The absence of express pacer Mark Wood from the knockouts meant Curran had to bowl an extra over with the new ball in the Powerplay in both games.
Curran’s second Powerplay over in the final resulted in the dismissal of Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan.
Veritable assembly line of white-ball specialists
England’s build-up to this T20 World Cup was marred by injuries. It lost in-form pacer Reece Topley to an ankle injury and flamboyant opener Jonny Bairstow to a broken left leg. Not to mention, star pacer Jofra Archer has been out of action for more than a year. But such is the depth of resources in its white-ball pool that the absence of a first-choice XI did not deter it from becoming the first men’s side to simultaneously hold both the ODI World Cup and the T20 World Cup trophies.