“England and Buttler are emphasizing the importance of having flexibility in their bowling approach following their close loss in Antigua.”
The loss to West Indies on Sunday may seem like another setback in England’s World Cup struggles, but with some perspective, it can actually be viewed as the complete opposite. In India, the team’s performance was crucial and the matches were not very captivating, but the one-day game in Antigua was thrilling and the outcome not as significant.
Rehan Ahmed expressed that it was an excellent game, preferring close matches over easy victories or losses. He acknowledged that their execution was not ideal, but this is a normal occurrence in the game of cricket. Despite this, there were many positives to take away from the game. They believed they were in control for most of the match, with a strong batting performance and effective bowling. However, they ultimately lost some crucial moments, which is to be expected in the sport.
I believe that results should not be the only determining factor. In any situation, there will always be a winner and a loser, and sometimes you may end up on the losing side. What’s important is the lessons you learn and the good aspects you can take away from it. In this case, there were many positive takeaways for both batting and bowling.
England’s performance on Sunday never approached being perfect, but for a long time it looked like being more than good enough. Posting the best score in the 16-year history of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and successfully defending it, however narrowly, would have been an impressive start to the tour, a fine base from which to build.
At the start of the day, Phil Salt hit two boundaries, giving England a strong lead. As the 91st over approached and West Indies struggled to catch up, it seemed like England would emerge as the winners. This feat was even more impressive as they were playing on foreign turf and against a team that had been training for two weeks.
Everything fell apart after Rehan’s last ball of the day. With 101 runs needed from 54 balls, Shai Hope had been batting for 22 overs and had scored 57 runs off 58 balls. Romario Shepherd had faced eight balls and scored six runs, and there was no indication of what was about to happen. However, after struggling against spin, the West Indies team started hitting England’s fast bowlers.
Gus Atkinson delivered three additional overs, giving up a respectable 20 runs and ultimately taking out Shepherd. However, Brydon Carse and Sam Curran did not have the same level of command. While both had made impressive contributions with the bat in the latter part of England’s innings, scoring a combined 69 runs off 37 balls, they then allowed West Indies to score 87 runs off 35 balls towards the end of their innings.
England could have used more flexibility in their bowling approach towards the end, but they were left with no other option but to rely on Carse and Curran. Maybe if Will Jacks had been given a chance to bowl a few overs, it could have potentially changed the outcome of the game, as seen with the success of the spinners who did bowl.
“Rehan praised Jos as an exceptional captain, stating that there were no poor decisions made during the game. However, the team failed to execute at the end. Rehan did not believe that Jacksy’s lack of bowling could be blamed for this.”
However, if losing the first game did not have a major impact, losing the second game on Wednesday – and consequently the series – would likely put more pressure on Matthew Mott, the coach for England’s limited-overs cricket. In order to prevent this, England will rely on Buttler to make crucial decisions and hope for an improvement in his poor performance with the bat.
Rehan shared, “Whenever I bowl to him during practice, he hits my deliveries all over the place. I cannot comment on his confidence as that is not my role, but I can say that he is possibly the most skilled player with white-ball that I have faced.”
At the age of 19, Rehan is the youngest member of England’s team by a significant margin. He narrowly missed the deadline for qualifying for the Under-19 World Cup in January by only three weeks. Despite this, his 15-year-old brother Farhan, who is an off-spinner, will still be a part of the squad for the tournament. The official announcement will be made on Tuesday. Rehan shared that Farhan is incredibly excited about this opportunity, and is currently at school taking a physics test. Rehan expressed his pride and anticipation in seeing his brother perform on the field.