“Oh heavens, not Jordan”. That was my initial reaction when Eoin Morgan tossed him the ball as England took the field for Pakistan’s super over. I’m not a Jordan fan. Never have been really. But despite having the worst bowling figures of any England bowler during the match, Super Chris was absolutely super in the super over. He performed like Superman.
They key to Jordan’s success was a succession of whippy yorkers. Many of these turned out to be full tosses earlier in the day, but Jordan was spot on when it mattered most. Fair play to him. He proved a lot of us wrong and won England the game.
How refreshing it is to have a captain with good intuition. Eoin Morgan would’ve received a lot of criticism had Jordan been laced to all parts. Many people were clamouring for Rashid to bowl the crucial six balls. But the captain got it spot on. After winning the ODI series 3-1 and the T20s 3-0, Eoin is walking on water right now.
To whitewash Pakistan in this T20 series was another really good accomplishment from England’s limited overs specialists. Things are definitely heading in the right direction ahead of the T20 World Cup. I wouldn’t say England are favourites – some of the other teams have a lot more experience – but we’re no longer the no-hopers we once were.
The strength of our team is its batting depth. It seems absolutely absurd that a player as good as Rashid was set to bat at number eleven. We have destructive hitters all the way down the order. David Willey is a mighty fine number nine and Chris Woakes isn’t bad either.
Some of the shots Woakes played yesterday evening were absolutely sublime. The ability to hit the ball over extra-cover for six is always the sign of a class player. The fact that England’s number eight can make it look so easy bodes really well.
England also have good depth at the top of the order. Although he wasn’t particularly fluent yesterday, James Vince played well considering the carnage going on around him. England were in a hole at 75-5 but Vince kept his cool like The Stranger from Fistful of Dollars. I prefer him as a player to Hales but I sense the management are wedded to a Roy / Hales partnership. We’ll see.
It’s actually getting quite hard to pick England’s best XI at the moment. There is so much talent available. An engine room of Root, Morgan and Buttler looks highly impressive. Billings is also an exciting player. Just imagine adding Pietersen to the mix. It will never happen – Strauss trusts him to ‘advise’ the team but not to play in it – but off the field absurdity hasn’t stopped England from being successful in the past. We have enough weapons to do some serious damage whatever XI takes the field.
Before I sign off, I should mention Eoin Morgan’s post-match comments. Forgive me for paraphrasing somewhat, but he claimed we’re at a disadvantage in T20 cricket because we don’t have “a quality domestic T20 tournament”. Do I sense a little discontent in the ranks? Morgan’s comments probably won’t go down too well with the authorities.
Having played in the IPL, Morgan knows it’s important for players to grow accustomed to big crowds and high-pressure situations. This isn’t always the case in the NatWest Blast. We’ve debated the merits of introducing a franchise T20 system in England on these pages before, but many people remain vehemently opposed to the concept. There’s little anyone can do unless the counties change their minds.