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T20 World Cup 2021

Five takeaways from England’s World Cup warm-up matches against India and New Zealand

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

England played two warm-ups against India and New Zealand, beating New Zealand by 13 runs and losing to India by seven wickets. Below are five takeaways from the two matches.

One win and one loss in the warm-ups for England as they look to become the first team to hold both the men’s 50-over and T20 World Cups at the same time. Their first match in the competition is against the West Indies on Saturday.

Will Morgan drop himself?

Morgan sat out the first fixture against India before hitting 10 off 11 balls against New Zealand where he suffered what looked like a poor lbw decision. Nevertheless, it continues his poor 2021 and means he goes into the World Cup without any runs behind him.

“I’ve been short of runs but my captaincy has been pretty good,” Morgan said earlier this week. “I’ve always managed to treat them as two different challenges. You get two bites at the cherry impacting the game. As regards to my batting I wouldn’t be standing here if I hadn’t come out of every bad run of form that I’ve ever had.”

Malan debate rumbles on

18 off 18 against India and then 11 off 15 against New Zealand did nothing to dissuade Malan’s critics of the perception that his slow starting nature puts England at risk. The upside, of course, is that Malan has on numerous occasions gone on to post big scores and won England matches by himself. But is Malan’s approach at the start of his innings putting England’s chances of victory at greater risk as a whole? England have stuck by Malan as their man to bat at three, but a couple more slow starts as the tournament begins could bring that into question.

Sam Billings throws his hat in the ring with cameo

With question marks looming over Morgan and Malan’s places in the side, Sam Billings did all he could to force England’s hand and pick him for the first match against the Windies. His cameo of 27 off 17 balls at the end of the innings against New Zealand served as a more-than-gentle reminder that England have another batter in the camp with an excellent T20 record. Add in his well-known ability against spin and the likelihood that England will come up against it a lot in the competition and the case for Billings only grows.

Overs under the belt for Livingstone

Liam Livingstone has only bowled in five of the eight T20Is he has played for England, but he bowled in both matches here and even opened the bowling against New Zealand. Of course, Livingstone is primarily in the team for his batting, but his ability with the ball will be key to England’s success as it gives them greater flexibility as to when they bowl their big guns. Bowling both off-breaks and leg-breaks, Livingstone took 1-10 off two overs against India, dismissing Virat Kohli, before taking 1-29 against New Zealand from his three overs.

Bowlers impress against New Zealand

Whilst England’s batting line-up is regarded as potentially the most fearsome in the world, their bowling attack is merely considered very good, with the absence of Jofra Archer a major blow. Against India, the bowlers had an off day as all of Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali went at more than 10 runs an over. It was therefore a welcome relief that they turned it around against New Zealand and produced a fine performance that ticked all the right boxes. Mark Wood took wickets in the powerplay, Adil Rashid ripped through the middle order before Tymal Mills impressed at the death. An expensive second over for Jordan was the only blot on the copy book but all in all a confidence boosting performance.

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