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Rashid says England in a 'good place' for T20 World Cup defence

By AFP

May 31, 2024 09:35 PM


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Adil Rashid believes England are well-placed ahead of their T20 World Cup defence after a seven-wicket win over Pakistan at The Oval on Thursday secured a 2-0 victory in a rain-affected four-match Twenty20 series.

England begin their quest to retain the title against Scotland in Barbados on June 4.

But their preparations were hampered when games against Pakistan in Leeds and Cardiff were both washed out without a ball bowled.

Jofra Archer, however, did make his long-awaited return to international cricket between those abandonments when the England fast bowler took two wickets in a 23-run win in the 2nd T20 at Edgbaston.

Archer was able to form an express double-act with Mark Wood at The Oval, the Durham quick reaching a speed of 96 mph and dismissing both Azam Khan and Naseem Shah with searing bouncers in south London.

And Sussex speedster Archer also continued his return from a run of right elbow injuries by taking the key wicket of Pakistan captain Babar Azam for 36 as the tourists slumped from 59-0 to 157 all out, leg-spinner Rashid finishing with figures of 2-37.

England captain Jos Buttler (39) and Phil Salt (45) all but put the result beyond doubt with a rapid opening stand of 82 in a match their side eventually won with 27 balls to spare.

England will now travel to the Caribbean in upbeat mood as they look to keep hold of the title they won in 2022 and atone for a woeful defence of their 50-over crown at last year's World Cup in India.

"We feel confident and we're positive," Rashid said. "It is different conditions and obvious playing in a tournament there is different pressure as well, but we're in a good place."

Whether England can keep both Archer and Wood, who each have a long history of injury problems, fit throughout the course of a tournament remains to be seen.

But there was no denying their impact at The Oval, with Rashid saying: "Seeing Jof and Woody, when you watch them bowl it is exciting. Seeing the ball zip off the pitch, the keeper taking it really high and it's exciting to have two quality, world-class bowlers in our squad," the 36-year-old added.

Pakistan were outplayed in all facets at The Oval, with paceman Haris Rauf's 3-38 a rare highlight of an often shoddy display in the field.

England beat Pakistan in the 2022 T20 World Cup final and Azam said: "When you play a big tournament, your confidence is always high.

"Our confidence is still high and we will try our best."

Pakistan's tournament opener is against co-hosts United States in Dallas on June 6.


AFP


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