Roy's injury is a blow for England, but Bairstow can step up

TREVOR BAYLISS: Jason Roy’s injury is a blow for England because he can take the game away from the opposition… but Jonny Bairstow can step up for the rest of T20 World Cup having scored plenty of runs as opener

  • The last time England faced New Zealand in World Cup was memorable moment 
  • Eoin Morgan and his team have shown enough to face New Zealand as favourites 
  • Just like the 2019 World Cup, opener Jason Roy is out, a blow as he is so dynamic
  • The good news is that now, as then, they are well covered to cope without him

The last time England faced New Zealand in a World Cup match we witnessed one of the greatest showpiece occasions the limited-overs game has ever seen.

Certainly, from a personal perspective, that 50-over final in 2019 was extra special because, at the fourth time of asking, an international team I coached won a global final.

Twice with Sri Lanka and then with England, when we had the last Twenty20 World Cup snatched from us in the last over by West Indies, had finals gone against my sides, so that incredible day at Lord’s will always be one of the most memorable of my career.

Jonny Bairstow (above) can step up to replace Jason Roy for the rest of the T20 World Cup

Roy’s injury is a blow for England because he can take the game away from the opposition

It might be a bit much to expect a repeat, on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, of the drama that saw England win the cup after a super over.

But Eoin Morgan and his team have shown enough in this tournament to face New Zealand again as favourites. I don’t actually think it will hurt England to have lost their final group match against South Africa.

It can refocus the boys because Morgs and Chris Silverwood wouldn’t have wanted it to have all come a bit easily for them going into the knockout stages.

Sri Lanka went through to the final of the 2009 T20 World Cup undefeated but then we lost by eight wickets to Pakistan at Lord’s, so better to get that defeat out of the way now against a South Africa side who were unlucky not to reach the final four.

Eoin Morgan and his team have shown enough to face New Zealand again as favourites

There is another similarity with 2019 in that England have lost Jason Roy to injury, as we did for part of that 50-over tournament, and that is a huge disappointment for him. 

Roy is such a dynamic player who can take the game away from the opposition in the first five or six overs of a T20 match — but the good news is that now, as then, England are well covered to cope without J-Roy and have so much experience of these big matches.

Jos Buttler has been exceptional throughout the tournament but Morgan will look to Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali and himself to step up and deliver now when England most need them.

There is the option to do what we did in 2019 and bring in James Vince for Roy at the top of the order, as he is with this England squad as a reserve. That way the rest of the line-up could remain undisturbed. More likely, they will do what I would do and move Bairstow up to open, because he has done it so many times before and scored plenty of runs.

I don’t think it will hurt England to have lost their final group match against South Africa

Wednesday’s match will come down to a battle between those England batters and the New Zealand pace bowlers.

Trent Boult and Tim Southee have bowled very well with the new ball and, if England bat well in the power play, it will go a long way towards them progressing to the final.

New Zealand are a team who do all the little things very well. They are always in the game and, in finals, if you can keep up the pressure, as we have seen, anything can happen. The Kiwis are consistent, they put a lot of pressure on with the ball, they are good in the field and they are capable of big scores.

They might not have as many dynamic batters as England and some other teams, but Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell can get them off to flying starts and then they have players of real quality in Kane Williamson and Devon Conway.

Williamson is a player I know very well, not least from our time together at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, where he became captain last time out. Kane is everything you want from a captain. He’s well respected not just by his team-mates but by the opposition as well. He’s one of the best batters in the world in all forms of the game and he leads the side very well.

Trent Boult (centre) and Tim Southee (left) have bowled very well with the new ball

Kane always backs his team, makes it very clear what role each player has and then allows them to fulfil those roles. Put all that together and you can see why New Zealand are so difficult to beat in these big games.

New Zealand were hurting after that defeat at Lord’s in 2019, make no mistake about that, but it is a measure of them that they reacted with such dignity. They displayed their character and showed what good human beings they are.

I don’t think revenge is the right word for what they will be seeking when they play England again but they will want to put that result right this time, that’s for sure.

Australia are peaking at just the right time

Aaron Finch’s Australia always believe they are good enough to get to the closing stages of any tournament and they will go into Thursday’s semi-final against Pakistan believing they can win the whole thing now.

They weren’t in great T20 form before this World Cup but they are peaking at the right time, as they invariably do.

But it’s not that long ago they weren’t playing well and sometimes when you’re in that situation you can lose a wicket or two and the memory of losing only a couple of games ago is fresh in your mind. 

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That will be a question for them to answer if they have a slow start with either bat or ball. Pakistan have been outstanding. 

They weren’t in great T20 form before the World Cup but Australia are peaking at the right time

They are playing with huge confidence and have match-winners everywhere. It’s all come together for them, but can they keep that up for another two games to win the World Cup?

As with the first semi-final, I will be fascinated to see what type of wicket is produced.

The surprising thing is seeing the pitches at Dubai and Abu Dhabi seeming to get a bit better as the tournament goes on. Or is it just that the players are becoming more accustomed to the surfaces?

The venues are getting more use but, if anything, they seem to be getting flatter.

England have been disrupted by injuries to Tymal Mills and now Jason Roy. New Zealand have to prove they really can win a World Cup. 

Pakistan have been outstanding, they are playing with huge confidence and have match-winners everywhere

Australia need to show they have truly moved on from their poor T20 form and can win this trophy for the first time. And Pakistan must not have one of their ordinary performances at the wrong time.

Every team have a reason why they can win it but also why they could be under pressure, too. Before this tournament, I said I’d love to see an England v Australia final and it’s within reach now. The cricket lover in me sees that as the perfect finale.

But it could easily be New Zealand v Pakistan, too. We should be in for quite a week.




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