LONDON – A destructive batting order and a balanced bowling attack means top-ranked England will start the T20 World Cup confident of adding the trophy to the 50-over title they claimed in 2019.
They may have been deprived of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran as well as pace bowler Jofra Archer, but skipper Eoin Morgan still boasts a fearful array of weapons.
Packed with experience in the heat of battle, England will also be spurred on by the bitter taste of defeat in the final of the last edition of the tournament in 2016.
Several of the side that beat New Zealand in a memorable World Cup final at Lord’s in 2019 will underpin England’s challenge with Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Morgan all capable of match-winning knocks.
And in left-hander Dawid Malan, England have the current number one ranked T20 batsman, who averages over 40.
No team has ever been world champions at both limited overs formats simultaneously, but England appear capable of becoming the first, even if a few of their big names have been misfiring in the IPL in recent weeks.
“I know we are missing Ben and Jofra, who are two superstars but I still look down that list and see some real match-winners in our side,” Buttler, who on his day is almost impossible to bowl at, said as he looked ahead to the tournament.
England will begin their quest on Oct. 23 in Dubai against West Indies, the team who denied them in such dramatic fashion five years ago, and will also meet Australia and South Africa.
While their batting looks more than a match for all those rivals, the bowling department could be Morgan’s ace.
“I genuinely believe to win a tournament you will be as good as your bowlers,” fast bowler Chris Jordan said.
“Our batting lineup is well stacked and is phenomenal and we can chase down any score, but I definitely believe we can (succeed) if we gel really well as a bowling unit.”
Jordan bowled the penultimate over as West Indies chased down England’s total in the 2016 final, conceding just eight runs, before Carlos Brathwaite struck four sixes off Stokes to take his side to a famous victory.
Jordan believes England’s bowlers have learned from that bitter experience and aged 33 and in his third T20 World Cup, the Surrey quick has proved himself one of the best bowlers at the death of an innings.
In the experienced Chris Woakes, the man his team mates call The Wizard, England possess a medium-pacer who can turn the course of a match in an over, while Adil Rashid’s career-best four for 35 to help England clinch a series win against Pakistan in July, was more evidence of his mastery of the T20 challenge.
Such is the whirlwind nature of T20 cricket that the favourites tag can be a burden, but Jordan believes the side are ready to go all the way this time.
“All the ingredients are there for us to make a decent run in this competition,” Jordan said.