On the eve of humiliating defeat against Bangladesh in world cup 2015, a decision was taken. The big guns of English Cricket management decided to introduce and adopt the approach called 'modern-day cricket’. By the adaptation of the new brand of cricket, they did not only touch new highs but also set the template for other teams to follow. Let's look as to how the results unfolded after taking some tough decisions to reach to the sunny day at Lord's on the 14th of July.
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England instilled self-belief in them as far as batting is concerned. They became the first team in the history of ODI cricket to score 7 consecutive scores of 300 or above during their contest against Bangladesh. Also, following mind-boggling stats suggest that they were on course to lift the trophy before the start of the mega event:
1- Since last world cup in 2015, average balls taken by individual English batsman to score a century was “90” (least among all). Similarly, they scored 49 centuries up till May 11(the highest number of 100s in the world).
2- From last world cup till 2018, English batsmen played 47.1% dot balls and struck boundary after every 8.5 deliveries. These numbers were unparalleled during the period.
3- Between the years 2016 to 2019, following are the top 3 batsmen of the world who consumed the least deliveries to score a century (min. 5 centuries):
i- Jonny Bairstow
ii- Jason Roy
iii- Shikhar Dhawan
Source: Hindustan times
Two of the top three were Englishmen.
Last but certainly not the least; whenever Roy and Bairstow put up a 50+ stand, England had won 83% of their matches.
“Numbers don’t lie”. English openers were supposed to provide a solid start. Root and Morgan consolidated the inning in the middle overs. And the big hitters in the likes of Buttler and Stokes were given the responsibility to wrap up the game. They made sure the target is achieved or the total onboard is 300 plus while batting first.
Historically, England was reliant of medium-fast bowlers. With Director Cricket and former English opener Andrew Strauss, Selector and former test cricketer James Taylor and skipper Eoin Morgan, English cricket took a paradigm shift. They short-listed the fast bowlers who can regularly bowl at 140+ KPH pace with the aid of quality seam bowlers like Woakes, Willey and Plunkett. They inducted wrist-spinner Adil Rashid in their ranks.
Source: Sports 360
They prepared formula to bowl fast and straight as the wickets of England were batting-friendly. Besides, they handed over the responsibility of picking wickets in middle overs to Rashid, Moeen Ali and Plunkett.
Since the world cup 2015, Liam Plunkett took 76 wickets in his 45 matches with the world’s best strike rate of 28 (till October 2018). With his cross-seam and back of length deliveries, he remained Morgan’s go-to man alongside Rashid.
Furthermore, the discipline which England bowlers maintained during the past four years was unimaginable. They bowled 11,000 consecutive deliveries without overstepping, till 23rd February 2019. They were more like a bowling machine. During this world cup, Jofra Archer took 7 wickets between over number 1-10 in 11 games. Archer was the 2nd best bowler after New Zealand’s Matt Henry while bowling upfront.
The hard work England put in before world cup bear fruits. To dig in further:
i- England was undefeated in their last 20 ODIs before their world cup game against Pakistan.
ii- With the victory against West Indies, England registered their 6th successive world cup win against men in maroon since 1979 world cup final.
iii- Between the years 2015-2018, England managed to win 28 wins as against 8 losses.
“England had the highest win/loss ratio of 2.42 since world cup 2015. This made them not only top-ranked ODI side but also the firm favourites to win the #CWC2019. England surely was the safest bet for the bookmakers.”
Fortune favours the brave. The last four years was not a time but a journey with a common goal and destination. The destination was Lords and goal was to engrave “England” on the world cup trophy. Some would whine and take the shade of rules, but the above realities tell us “How England wins the World Cup”
Feature image source: Al Jazeera