Headingley washout stops England and Pakistan's T20 World Cup preparation

By Sports Desk May 22, 2024

England and Pakistan were denied valuable T20 World Cup preparation after the first game of their limited-overs series was abandoned due to rain at Headingley on Wednesday.

The umpires took little time to call off the first of a four-match T20I series as the decision was made without a ball being bowled at the ground in Leeds.

England will have to wait to assess the fitness of the returning Jofra Archer, with Pakistan also having no chance to evaluate their players as the only side to still not announce their World Cup squad yet.

Edgbaston will play host to the next meeting on Saturday, with clashes at Cardiff and The Oval to follow before the pair head off to the United States for the T20I tournament in June.

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  • West Indies face major blow as Brandon King suffers injury in loss to England West Indies face major blow as Brandon King suffers injury in loss to England

    The West Indies' T20 World Cup campaign took a severe hit after their eight-wicket defeat to England in the Super 8s match in St Lucia on Wednesday night with the news that they could be without opener Brandon King for the remainder of the tournament. The Jamaican retired hurt due to an apparent side strain early in their innings of 180-4.

    King had given the West Indies a strong start, smashing 23 runs off just 12 balls, including a massive 101-metre six off Reece Topley that flew over the midwicket boundary. However, his promising innings was abruptly halted on his 13th delivery when he attempted to drive Sam Curran through the covers and suffered a side strain, forcing him to retire hurt after medical attention.

    Cricket West Indies (CWI) later confirmed the injury: "Brandon King has suffered a side strain and will not return to the field of play in this evening's match." King did not field during England's chase, with Shimron Hetmyer taking his place.

    Side strains usually take several weeks to heal, making King's participation in the remaining matches of the World Cup highly unlikely with only ten days left in the tournament. West Indies captain Rovman Powell expressed concern over King's injury. "Yes, a little bit worrying but hopefully he can pull through for the next game," Powell said. "We know how important a player he is for us."

    King's absence would be a significant setback for the West Indies. Despite a modest tournament so far with a top score of 34, King’s experience and leadership, having recently captained the team against South Africa, are invaluable.

    The West Indies have five standby players: Andre Fletcher, Kyle Mayers, Fabian Allen, Hayden Walsh Jr., and Matthew Forde. Kyle Mayers, who narrowly missed the initial squad, is the frontrunner to replace King, though Fletcher's experience as a top-order batsman also makes him a strong candidate.

    The team will travel to Barbados on Thursday ahead of their next Super Eight match against the USA at Kensington Oval on Friday. With their World Cup ambitions in jeopardy, the West Indies will need to quickly adapt and find a way to mitigate the loss of their dynamic opener.

    As the tournament continues, the focus will be on the West Indies to see how they handle this adversity and whether Brandon King can make an unexpected return to bolster their World Cup hopes.

  • Impressive England thrash West Indies to make winning start to Super 8s Impressive England thrash West Indies to make winning start to Super 8s

    Phil Salt hit an impressive six boundaries in a single over as England produced their best performance of the T20 World Cup to beat West Indies by eight wickets in the Super 8s.

    Opener Salt plundered 87 not out in 47 balls to set the defending champions on their way to hitting their target of 181 with 15 balls to spare.

    Brandon King made a promising start for West Indies, hitting 23 in the powerplay, but retired hurt, potentially ending his tournament early.

    Though Johnson Charles (38), Nicolas Pooran and Rovman Powell (both 36) kept the hosts moving steadily, England were able to limit them to 180-4.

    Salt hit his 50 at the start of the 16th, in which he hit three sixes and as many fours in a 30-run over against Romario Shepherd.

    Jonny Bairstow also added an unbeaten 48 to take them to 181-2 after Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali were dismissed, as England finally found their footing in the tournament.

    Data Debrief: Worth his Salt

    Salt's 30-run over firmly swung the momentum in England's favour, and it is the joint-most expensive over for a West Indies bowler at the T20 World Cup.

    Before this match, Salt had scored just 60 runs in total in England's previous three outings at the tournament but beat that in a dominant display against West Indies.

  • Southgate 'ambivalent' towards England criticism: 'It used to annoy me' Southgate 'ambivalent' towards England criticism: 'It used to annoy me'

    Gareth Southgate is now "ambivalent" towards the constant scrutiny he and England face, unsurprised his team were criticised even after making a winning start to Euro 2024.

    England beat Serbia 1-0 on Sunday and have the opportunity to secure their place in the last 16 against Denmark on Thursday.

    Victory would mark the first time the Three Lions have started a Euros campaign with back-to-back wins. Indeed, prior to last weekend's match, they had only once won their championship opener – also under Southgate at Euro 2020.

    Those facts were relayed to Southgate on the eve of the Denmark match, with the England manager asked if too much was expected of a team whose stuttering second-half performance against Serbia was picked apart by fans and pundits.

    But Southgate, in his fourth tournament in the role, has come to terms with the narrative around the England team.

    "I've been in this environment for eight years, so I understand it all," he said. "It used to annoy me, but now I'm ambivalent to it. Winning matches in tournaments is incredibly hard."

    Those younger members of Southgate's squad who have not previously experienced the tournament rollercoaster might have been a little more taken aback by the response to the win.

    Southgate explained: "You can see a lot of them who haven't been with England – 'right, we've won our first game, and this is how it is?'

    "That's a strange experience for some of the boys who haven't been with us. It's great that we've got experienced players who have lived through it who can say, 'no, no, this is what's important, this is how we stay on track'.

    "Our assessment of the game is most important. We're never slow to pull things up that aren't right, that aren't good enough. So, that's the most important view, the way we dissect the game."

    Southgate did acknowledge Sunday's match did not go entirely to plan, with Serbia gaining a foothold after half-time, albeit without really threatening to cancel out Jude Bellingham's early header.

    "We didn't set out to sit back," insisted Southgate, with similar patterns in previous tournament matches having been a point of contention.

    Both Southgate and the England supporters will hope for a more complete performance against Denmark then, although the manager confirmed left-back Luke Shaw would not return from injury in time to feature. Right-back Kieran Trippier is in line to deputise again.

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