@Yas_Wisden 3 minute read
The 3-0 whitewash that took England to the top of the T20I rankings wasn’t always as straightforward as the scoreline suggests.
Pushed close in all three games against a weakened South Africa line-up, not all 11 players used by England enjoyed series to remember.
Here’s how each of the 11 fared:
Jason Roy: 2/10
30 runs @ 10, SR: 85.71
Generally came out second best in his battle with George Linde. Looked out of form and while he possesses plenty of credit in the bank, he’ll be desperate for a return to form in the upcoming ODI series.
Jos Buttler: 7/10
96 runs @ 48, SR: 143.28
That he never quite looked at his fluent best yet still averaged a shade below 50 is an indicator of the absurdly high standard that Buttler holds. Played second fiddle to Dawid Malan in their record partnership in the series finale.
Dawid Malan: 9/10
173 runs @ 86.50, SR: 161.68
Malan’s seemingly unbreakable path from interloper to fulcrum continues. Player of the match in the last two games of the series, navigating England home in two very different but equally testing chases, it’s now increasingly difficult to envisage England going into the T20 World Cup without Malan in their first choice XI.
Jonny Bairstow: 8/10
89 runs @ 89, SR: 161.81
One of the few pre-series problems facing England was finding a way to fit their abundance of top-order options into a functioning top six. Bairstow’s successful move to No. 4, from where he played a masterful 86* in the series opener, bodes well for the future.
Ben Stokes: 7/10
53 runs @ 26.50, SR: 132.50
2 wickets @ 20.00, ER: 8.00
An encouraging series for Stokes. Provided ample support for Bairstow in the first T20I and with Moeen Ali currently out of favour, his middle overs display with the ball may help England fill an awkward hole if they continue to persist with just one frontline spinner.
Eoin Morgan: 7/10
38 runs @ 38, SR: 140.74
Another who played a crucial hand in a tight run chase. His 26* at Paarl added much needed impetus to England’s pursuit of 147 on a tacky surface. His side now tops the world rankings in both white-ball formats.
Sam Curran: 6/10
8 runs @ 8, SR: 100
3 wickets @ 29.00, ER: 9.66
Held his nerve brilliantly at Cape Town, hitting Kagiso Rabada over long-on for six when England required 15 off nine. He wasn’t quite the new ball threat some assumed he would be – he rarely looked to swing the ball – but his clever use of cutters and his deceptively sharp bouncer later in the innings showed his impressive versatility as a T20 bowler.
Tom Curran: 2/10
2 wickets @ 58, ER: 11.60
A poor series for the oldest Curran brother. Looked eminently hittable when his length erred and while he’s served England well in the past, they may be wise to, at very least, consider alternatives – namely Tymal Mills – at the death.
Jofra Archer: 6/10
2 wickets @ 45, ER: 7.50
Archer didn’t quite replicate his extraordinary IPL form, but he was typically frugal in the powerplay and was unlucky to finish the series with just two wickets. His battle against Quinton de Kock – who he described as the batsman he finds toughest to bowl at in T20 cricket – was the most absorbing duel of the series. Archer was less effective at the death and was on the receiving end of a pasting from Rassie van der Dussen off his final over of the series.
Chris Jordan: 7/10
3 wickets @ 37, ER: 9.25
Overtook Stuart Broad to become England’s leading wicket-taker in men’s T20I cricket and had the handy knack of dismissing a set Quinton de Kock, doing so in all three games. England’s most reliable bowler at the death.
Adil Rashid: 8.5/10
2 wickets @ 35, ER: 5.83
Just the two wickets for Rashid in the series but he was by some distance the most economical England bowler on show. Rashid is arguably enjoying the best spell of his England career to date and at times was mesmeric. An injury to Rashid would significantly worsen this England attack.