England dangerous as a settled unit at World T20
NEW DELHI: India was the pre-tournament favorite, New Zealand the most versatile in the group stage but England has emerged both as a team with power and the ability to quickly extricate itself from tricky positions.
The manner of its victory on Wednesday in the semifinal match against New Zealand, which was the only unbeaten team at the World Twenty20 till then, showed that it could be a handful in the final. Unlike India and the West Indies, 2010 champion England is not dependent on a few big names.
Jason Roy's 78 off 44 balls against New Zealand made the chase of a 154-run target possible with 17 deliveries to spare.
"That's pretty special for me, to get this group of boys to a final," Roy said after the game. "Obviously it wasn't just me - the bowlers were outstanding toward the end, their skill sets were amazing. I'm just hugely proud to be involved."
Roy had also scored 42 against Sri Lanka and an amazing 43 off only 16 in a 230-run chase against South Africa that helped the team find rhythm after losing to the West Indies in the opening game.
"After the first game it was pretty far away. It's something that we're really buzzing for. It's going to be an incredible experience, and we can't wait," Roy said about the chance to play the final at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on Sunday.
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram praised England's batting lineup.
"The England batting has a lot of variety," Akram told Star Sports channel. "They have openers who can hit the ball well and power hitters for later in the innings. At the same time, there are also batsmen who can build the innings."
Joe Root's 83 off 44 against South Africa, Jos Buttler's 37-ball 66 not out versus Sri Lanka and Moeen Ali's 41 against Afghanistan coming in at No. 7 have all reflected the team's batting depth.
With Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes exhibiting fine bowling against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, it's four-man pace attack has looked balanced and lends some leeway to slow bowlers Ali and Adil Rashid.
Akram said the England players had their tasks cut out for them.
"Someone like Roy has obviously been told to just go after the bowling and not worry about being dropped. Basically, everyone in the team knows his role very well," Akram said.