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England beat Oman by eight wickets: T20 Cricket World Cup – as it happened
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England beat Oman by eight wickets: T20 Cricket World Cup – as it happened

Cricket figures for England’s batsmen,” says Chad Thomas.

“I’m just glad,” adds Jeremy Dresner, “that kit clash didn’t last too long.”

And here’s Ben Mimmack. “I make no great claims for my spreadsheet skills (please don’t tell my employers),” he says, “but I just broke out the sheets and I believe even if England had scored 250 off 20 overs and then bowled out Oman for 47 in 13.2 overs, their NRR from this match would be 8.9 vs the 11.9 they actually banked, so batting second was probably the right decision. That said, the additional overs would have changed the overall weighting, so maybe I’m wrong. And now I have a headache.”

There was a nice little sub-plot to that conversation. “Have you been surprised,” Nasser asked, “how quickly people have written you off after one and a quarter games?”

“Not really,” Buttler said with a wry smile. “I’ve been around long enough to know how it works, how guys like you make some comments. That’s fine, that’s part of your job, I don’t mind.”

Here’s Jos Buttler, who doesn’t seem to have broken sweat despite being on the field for the whole game. Just about the perfect performance, Nasser Hussain suggests, couldn’t ask for more. “Absolutely not,” Buttler says. “I thought the tone was set by the bowlers, we managed to restrict them and knock them off, so job done and we’ve got another big game in two days’ time.

“I thought they bowled brilliantly – that extra bounce, Topley with his height, Jofra with his high release point too… I though they bowled a really good line and length.” And Adil? “He found spin, bowled fantastically well. I don’t think any of us expected the wicket to play like that…” The message to the batters? “Just to be ultra-positive.”

I don’t believe it. Mark Wood has been robbed again.

I really hope Sky have got this right… Just now they were telling us that England’s net run rate would only rise to +0.3 if they knocked these runs off in three overs. Now that England have managed it in 3.1 overs, Sky have changed their tune and decided that England’s net run rate has soared from -1.80 to +3.08. Our friends at Cricinfo agree, so it doesn’t feel like fake news.

Scotland’s run rate is +2.16. And as long as England beat Namibia and Scotland lose to Australia, England will scrape through to the Super 8s.

Salt 400 (12 off three balls)
Bairstow 400 (8 off two)
Buttler 300 (24 off 8)
Jacks 71 (5 off seven)

The player of the match is … Adil Rashid. Someone call the police, Mark Wood’s been robbed. Yes, Rashid was masterly, but three of his four victims were tail-enders, whereas Wood dismissed three of the top six.

Bilal 2-0-36-1
Kaleemullah 1-0-10-1
Fayyaz Butt 0.1-0-4-0

But at least they took two wickets.

So England finally have their first win of this World Cup. And Oman have their fourth defeat, which is tough after they took their first game to a Super Over.

Fayyaz comes on, bowls one ball, and finds Bairstow pulling it for four, so that is that. England finish on 50-2, Buttler 24 not out, Bairstow 8. They added 30 – easily the highest partnership of the game – off just eight balls.

3rd over: England 46-2 (Buttler 24, Bairstow 4) Bilal continues and Buttler finds the boundary for the first time, going down the track to hit a drive down the fairway. He follows a golf shot with something from the squash court, a wristy square drive off a full toss, but can’t get it into the gap. A pull for four, a chip for four more, an on-drive for six, and a lofted cut for four: that’s 22 off the over, and Buttler has 24 off eight balls – after not starting all that well. England need two to win.

2nd over: England 24-2 (Buttler 2, Bairstow 4) Kaleemullah is tall and he got that wicket with his steep bounce. He also befuddled Buttler, who played a Harrow drive for a single. But after his success he ran into Jonny Bairstow, who cut his first ball for four. England are halfway!

Another one! Jacks tries to slap a short ball, gets it too high on the bat, and sends a skyer into the covers, where Prajapati does well to keep calm and cling on.

1st over: England 14-1 (Buttler 1, Jacks 1) Jos Buttler faces for the first time and takes a single with a tuck. That three-over chase is still just about possible. England need 34 more to win.

5th ball: England 13-1 (Buttler 0, Jacks 1) After playing himself in with a block, Jacks whips a single to leg.

4th ball: England 12-1 (Buttler 0, Jacks 0) We have a dot.

What a retort! Bilal pulls his length back, as you would, and persuades Salt to play on. Still, 12 off three, that’ll do nicely.

2nd ball: England 12-0 (Salt 12, Buttler 0) Hello, hello! Same again.

1st ball: England 6-0 (Salt 6, Buttler 0) Hello! Salt sees a nice full length from the left-armed Bilal and goes over cover for six.

The players are out there and Bilal Khan has the ball. No need to change the order yet for England: it’s Phil Salt and Jos Buttler to open as usual.

Run-rate latest. “Even if England get the runs in three overs,” says Ian Ward on Sky, “it’ll only get them to +0.3.” Given that they started the day on -1.80, that doesn’t seem too bad.

“Is it hard to get a good run rate,” asked Tom van der Gucht half an hour ago, “if you shoot the opponents out cheaply? Exciting stuff so far, but it’s brought to light my ignorance regarding net run rates. If you gun the opponents out for around 40, for example, then spank out the runs in 2 overs, will you not get the opportunity to build up as good a run rate as someone who smashed 250 then bundles the opponents out for 40?”

Good question – so good that it is shining a light on my ignorance too. All I can say is that Australia seem to have done all right after shooting out Namibia for 72. It would seem harsh if teams were penalised for bowling the way England just have, and you’d assume Buttler would have betted first if that was the case. Anybody else know the answer?

Topley 3-0-12-0
Archer 3.2-1-12-3
Wood 3-0-12-3
Rashid 4-0-11-4

You have to feel for Chris Jordan.

“We had a point to prove,” Mark Wood tells Nasser Hussain. Asked what the pitch is like, he says: “Extra bounce, tennis-ball-y.”

A top edge, a neat catch, and that is that: England have shot Oman out the wrong side of 50. It’s a record for both sides – Oman’s lowest completed total, and the lowest England have ever inflicted on anybody (in a T20).

12th over: Oman 47-9 (Shoaib Khan 11, Bilal Khan 0) That wicket came off Rashid’s penultimate ball, leaving him with one delivery to try and get the first T20 international five-for of his career. He duly draws Bilal into a cowshot, but it lands short of the man at deep square.

Another batter bamboozled by the googly.

12th over: Oman 45-8 (Shoaib Khan 10, Kaleemullah 5) Hang on! The fightback is on. As Wood returns, the Omanis decide it’s time to make use of that extra pace. Shoaib shovels to midwicket for two, then takes a single, whereupon Kaleemullah announces himself with a forehand down the line for four and a top edge for a single. And then Shoaib tucks a single to fulfil those predictions about double figures. Nine off the over! And the partnership, at 10, is the equal-biggest of the day so far, matching Prajapati and Aqib’s 13-ball vigil for the second wicket.

11th over: Oman 36-8 (Shoaib Khan 6, Kaleemullah 0) Buttler was enjoying himself in that over, giving Rashid a slip and a leg slip. Now he’s got the eighth wicket in the bag, it’s surely time to go the full Steve Waugh.

Alas, poor Butt. He survives an appeal for LBW because the googly was doing too much, only to find Rashid instantly bowling it again, subtly dialling down the spin, and spreadeagling the stumps. Rashid now has 3-0-9-3.

Time for an email. “Given how quickly this innings is going,” says Matt Guthrie in Phoenix, “I’d better hurry up and point out that Afghanistan have also won all of their matches up to now.” Quite right, thanks. Just the two games so far, but they have won both.

10th over: Oman 35-7 (Shoaib Khan 6, Fayyaz Butt 0) Wood’s reward for taking 3 for 3 is to be taken off. Back comes Archer, who rings the changes by bowling a maiden to Shoaib. He looks the best bet to be the first batter of the day in double figures. And that’s drinks with England just about on top.

Source: theguardian.com