T20 World Cup: England Have To Adapt To Playing On Slower Pitches, Says Nasser Hussain

(MENAFN- IANS) Gros Islet (St Lucia), June 22 (IANS) Former captain Nasser Hussain believes defending champions England need to address issues in adapting to playing on slower pitches after losing to South Africa by seven runs in their second Super Eight stage game of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

At the Daren Sammy National cricket Stadium on Friday, England did well in restricting South Africa to 163/6. But in their chase, England struggled to get going against South Africa's slower balls and were reduced to 61/4.

Harry Brook played a calculated 53 and shared a sensational 78-run partnership off 42 balls for the fifth wicket with Liam Livingstone, who smashed a 17-ball 33, as the duo capitalised on South Africa's bowlers' bowling pace-on deliveries.

England needed 25 runs from 18 balls to win the match, but South Africa corrected their mistakes and gave away only 17 runs in the last three overs to seal a thrilling win and be now on top of Group 2.

“No batter likes it when the ball stops in the pitch a bit, but my one concern about England is that their players really like facing balls with pace on as we saw against West Indies earlier in the week.”

“This was not a minefield, just a slower pitch and if you look at where England have played their best cricket in this tournament, it has been Antigua when there was pace and bounce and here in St Lucia when there was pace and bounce against the West Indies.”

“If Jos Buttler's team defeats the United States on Sunday to get into the semifinals, they could end up facing India in Guyana, for example, and they will need to address how to play on the kind of surface they were dealt here.”

“Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone showed they can cope with coming in during the middle overs and put the foot down straightaway, but despite England playing good cricket, they failed to get over the line,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail.

Hussain also applauded South Africa's wicketkeeper-opener Quinton de Kock for smashing 49 runs off 20 balls in the power-play, which included him hitting relentless boundaries off Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, and Sam Curran. His blitz ensured South Africa's power-play score was 63/0, which bettered England's 41/2.

“It was a case of de Kock winning the matchups at the start of the game. It was no surprise that England started with the off-spin of Moeen Ali, a bowler who has dismissed him six times in T20s. But the other match-up was in de Kock's favour because he loves batting against Jofra Archer.”

“It's the natural line and length of Archer that the South African left-hander enjoys facing so much -- delivering from close to the stumps and hitting the back of a length. We have seen it in South Africa previously that de Kock just loves picking him off on the leg-side and that over that cost 21 runs was decisive.”

“South Africa have had some close games and keep managing to, which is actually the opposite of what they normally do in World Cups. They tend to blast people away in tournament cricket at the start, then get some close games in a knockout situation and come unstuck. It could be a good sign for them,” he concluded.



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