Cricket World Cup 2019: Roy and Bairstow's brilliance highlights NZ woes

By Sports Desk July 13, 2019

England's Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow walked to the crease with the eyes of the cricket world on them.

The pre-tournament favourites and hosts were on the brink of a surprising Cricket World Cup elimination, knowing victories against India - and then New Zealand - were virtually essential to book a place in the semi-finals.

A string of unexpected defeats, defined by unsuccessful run chases, had a nation on edge, but on this occasion at least, against India, Roy and Bairstow had the chance to write the script. The chance to set the tone. The chance to keep England's World Cup dreams alive.

A breathtaking 160-run partnership in just 22.1 overs followed, the England pair negotiating their way through a tricky opening period before freeing the arms in the fashion fans have come to expect.

Roy, back from a hamstring injury, had the best seat in the house as a fired-up Bairstow thrashed 10 fours and six sixes in a scintillating 111. 

Bairstow's opening partner fell for 66 but the damage was done, England pushing to a total of 337-7 that would prove far too much for India.

Another must-win match followed and so did a big opening partnership.

Roy (60) and Bairstow (106) added 123 in 18.4 overs on this occasion, again setting the platform for a 300-plus score that England's bowlers comfortably defended against New Zealand.

England then headed into a semi-final against the old enemy, Australia, with their mojo back. 

And the attacking brand of cricket that saw England claim the world number one ranking in the 50-over format was on full display in that contest, too.

Roy and Bairstow faced a different challenge, chasing on that occasion, but the result was exactly the same: another 100-plus partnership in quick time. 

Set 224 for victory, Roy was the main aggressor this time, walloping five sixes in a 65-ball 85 before an unjust dismissal. Bairstow added 34, too, as they wiped 124 from the target in 17.2 overs, effectively ending the game as a contest with a mix of timing, game awareness and, of course, customary aggression.

The contribution of new-ball bowlers Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer in England's recent resurgence cannot be denied, but it is Roy and Bairstow who have been the driving forces.

Of the 14 century-plus partnerships for the first wicket at the World Cup, Roy and Bairstow have provided four in just seven attempts. A 95-run partnership between the duo came in a clash against West Indies, too.

And the pair's importance to England was highlighted by the three matches that Roy missed. England lost two of those, stand-in James Vince and Bairstow combining for opening stands of 44, 1 and 0.

All of that means that the New Zealand camp will arrive at Lord's on Sunday having spent honours analysing, reviewing, fretting and plotting. Just how do they get Roy and Bairstow early?

England's success at the top of the order comes in stark contrast to New Zealand's early efforts with the bat.

The Black Caps have only produced only one opening stand of 100 runs or more at the World Cup, Martin Guptill and the now-dropped Colin Munro providing it against Sri Lanka in the third match of the tournament, almost six weeks ago.

Guptill and Munro combined for an unbeaten 137-run union on that occasion but the opening partnerships since - 35, 0, 12, 0, 5, 29, 2 and 1 - make grim reading for New Zealand fans.

Munro lost his place after a six-wicket defeat to Pakistan but his replacement, Henry Nicholls, has scored just 36 runs in three matches. Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup with 547, has managed only 167 in eight matches at the 2019 edition, and that tally includes a first-up 73 not out.

"No one is more frustrated than what I am," Guptill told 1 News.

The consequence of New Zealand's poor opening partnerships is an unhealthy reliance on captain Kane Williamson and, to a lesser extent, veteran Ross Taylor. And while the experienced pair have continued to dig their side out of trouble, another poor start in the final could prove costly.

Roy and Bairstow have provided England with an incredible source of momentum throughout this World Cup.

One more match-defining partnership from the pair will go a long way to helping England win the tournament for the first time.

Related items

  • On this day in sport: Mets boss dies, Red Rum hat-trick, MLS strike over, India glory On this day in sport: Mets boss dies, Red Rum hat-trick, MLS strike over, India glory

    Today marks 25 years since Major League Baseball stars called off their strike, which had resulted in the previous year's World Series being scrapped.

    It is also 38 years to the day since the New York Mets were left stunned by the death of one of the biggest names in baseball.

    History was made on this day in England at Aintree in 1977, while India's cricketers and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney were both celebrating nine years ago.

    Let's take a look back at April 2 in sporting history.

    1972 - Baseball in shock as Mets manager Hodges dies

    Gil Hodges had been a superstar with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers, and rounded off his playing career with the just-founded New York Mets. An eight-time All-Star, as a coach he added to the two World Series with the Dodgers, Hodges famously reviving the Mets and leading them to a shock 1969 title triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. But Hodges died on April 2, 1972, at the age of just 47, when he suffered a heart attack following a round of golf in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was his second heart attack: a first came in Atlanta in September 1968, early in his career as manager of the Mets.

    1977 - Red Rum wins third Grand National

    Tommy Stack rode Red Rum to Aintree glory, as the Ireland-bred steeplechaser followed up 1973 and 1974 triumphs at the Liverpool course with an unprecedented third Grand National victory. The feat has never been matched, with Red Rum triumphing against the odds after second-placed finishes in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 12, Red Rum's third success went down as one of racing's most famous wins.

    1995 - Baseball stars go back to work

    From August 12 1994 until April 2 1995, there was no top-tier baseball in the United States, with MLB stars going on strike in a labour dispute that stemmed from salary-cap proposals that got players riled. The 1994-95 season was abandoned in September, and the strike lasted for 232 days until judge Sonia Sotomayor's injunction against team owners persuaded the players to go back to work.

    2011 - India triumph, Rooney treble

    India landed Cricket World Cup glory in front of their home fans in Mumbai when the hosts landed a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final. Mahela Jayawardene made a century in Sri Lanka's 274-6 before India reached their target with 10 balls to spare, helped by 97 from Gautam Gambhir and 91 not out from MS Dhoni.

    In London, on the same day, Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from 2-0 behind to defeat West Ham 4-2 at Upton Park in the Premier League, an important result as Alex Ferguson's team went on to win the title weeks later.

  • Windies tour of England not called off just yet Windies tour of England not called off just yet

    Isolation units and Coronavirus checkpoints at cricket grounds could see the West Indies still making the trip to that country for closed-door games.

    The West Indies were scheduled to start a three-Test duel with England at T/he Oval, Edgbaston, and Lord’s on June 4 until the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Europe threatened to derail those plans.

    The ECB and Cricket West Indies have been trying to come up with solutions to keep what is expected to be a lucrative series alive.

    According to reports, the ECB is stepping up plans to resume cricket in June, but with no spectators, but that broadcasting would still go ahead since that was safer and that is where the majority of money to be earned from the series would be in any case.

    The approach, ECB Director of Special Projects, Steve Elworthy, explained that any approach involving re-starting cricket in England would mean creating a sterile environment, safe for players and staff.

  • Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages

    Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but fast bowler Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages during the recently concluded West Indies Championships.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.