Nasser Hussain: England’s death bowling remains an area for improvement after T20 World Cup exit | Cricket News


Nasser Hussain and Mike Atherton reflect on England's exit from the T20 World Cup, their death bowling not being 'quite right' and who leaves the tournament with their heads held high

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Nasser Hussain and Mike Atherton reflect on England’s exit from the T20 World Cup, their death bowling not being ‘quite right’ and who leaves the tournament with their heads held high

Nasser Hussain and Mike Atherton reflect on England’s exit from the T20 World Cup, their death bowling not being ‘quite right’ and who leaves the tournament with their heads held high

England did not get their death bowling “quite right” with Tymal Mills sorely missed in the T20 World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand, says Nasser Hussain.

Having worked themselves into a strong position defending 166-4, a late onslaught, led by Jimmy Neesham and Daryl Mitchell, saw the Black Caps secure a five-wicket victory with an over to spare.

The game turned on 23-run 17th over from seamer Chris Jordan that included two wides to go with a pair of sixes and a four from Neesham with England unable to regain control in the two overs that followed.

Jordan has earned a reputation as a death-bowling specialist over the years but with Jofra Archer a long-term absentee and Mills sustaining a thigh injury during the Super 12s, England found themselves short of alternatives late in the innings.

England head coach Chris Silverwood says they threw everything they had at New Zealand but Jimmy Neesham's innings ensured it was not their day

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England head coach Chris Silverwood says they threw everything they had at New Zealand but Jimmy Neesham’s innings ensured it was not their day

England head coach Chris Silverwood says they threw everything they had at New Zealand but Jimmy Neesham’s innings ensured it was not their day

“That is the unbelievable stuff with T20 cricket,” Hussain told Sky Sports. “We saw it five years ago in Kolkata [in the T20 World Cup final vs West Indies], 19 good overs and then four in-the-slot deliveries and England lose it.

“Same here after that (Liam) Livingstone 16th over at the far end, it needed one following up this end and, under pressure, Chris Jordan didn’t deliver. It was either in the slot or wide and when you are bowling to someone like Neesham or Mitchell, they will put you away.

“I think you have to give them credit because this is a reasonably big ground, and it was a bit two-paced. It’s when you change. For the whole tournament they have stuck with that back of a length, they did not quite go short enough I thought, they were in between, and they did not change their plan.

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“Whether, suddenly, because it is going pear-shaped you change your plan, I do not know but it is an area, still, that England cannot quite get right. For all Chris Jordan’s skills, in the last year I wouldn’t say he has got his death bowling absolutely spot on.

“Tymal Mills was a big, big loss. I know that you are always a better player out of the side but Tymal Mills at the end there with short balls and slower balls would have been harder to hit. But he wasn’t there, and England didn’t quite get it right at the death.”

Kevin Pietersen added Mills was “irreplaceable” in the England XI because opposition batters would not have come up against him as regularly as the other bowlers in the squad.

Kevin Pietersen says losing Tymal Mills to injury earlier in the tournament was huge for England as they needed his skillset and variations in the semi-final

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Kevin Pietersen says losing Tymal Mills to injury earlier in the tournament was huge for England as they needed his skillset and variations in the semi-final

Kevin Pietersen says losing Tymal Mills to injury earlier in the tournament was huge for England as they needed his skillset and variations in the semi-final

“You pick a squad to win a World Cup,” the former England star said. “Which means that with a number of your players, you have got to bank on, if they get injured, you have got a like-for-like replacement.

“I will keep harping on about this, batters win you sponsorships, bowlers win you championships. It is something which has been said on numerous occasions because bowlers do the hard yards.

“A guy like Mills is not on the circuit, he does not play the IPL – he played one season and had a shocker and has not played since.

“He does not play international cricket, he has not played Test cricket so the batters do not sit there thinking ‘OK, Mills, I know what he does, I know how he shapes the ball, I know the lines, I know the lengths. I know how he delivers that slower ball’.

“So, he is irreplaceable in that squad. That’s where I think they came unstuck is with how irreplaceable one guy is in their team.”

Livingstone ‘worth his weight in gold’

While it was a difficult end to the tournament for Jordan, Liam Livingstone further enhanced his reputation with an impressive all-round display, hitting a quickfire 17 with the bat before taking 2-22 with the ball to put England in a strong position.

“[It is] not just with the bat but with the ball as well,” Hussain said. “We have watched Liam Livingstone bowl in warm-ups and bowl in the nets and we have been amazed actually, he lands them really well!

Liam Livingstone took two key wickets in an impressive all-round performance for England

Liam Livingstone took two key wickets in an impressive all-round performance for England

“When I first thought of Liam Livingstone, I thought of a big-hitting batter who bowls a bit of spin, he bowls a bit of this and that. But actually when you watch him warm up and bowl, he lands them on a sixpence – off-spin, leg-spin, off-spin, leg-spin, which is not the easiest thing to do.

“Nowadays with the matchups, Moeen Ali because of right-handers and Mitchell Santner only bowled one over today because of left-handers.

“This whole mindset now of skippers going with the analyst and going with their matchups, if you can have a Liam Livingstone and you have a right-hand-left-hand combination then he’s worth his weight in gold.”

Hussain was also keen to stress despite their defeat in Abu Dhabi, England remain one of the world’s top white-ball sides.

“Let’s not let one over get in the way – England have been a really good side in this tournament. But that’s the problem with T20 and world T20 events, you can go from being a really good side and one over later, you are on your way home.”



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