By Edward Kirk
An impressive all-round display pushed England to their fourth victory in this year’s T20 World cup.
Lancashire opener, Jos Buttler, hit an incredible 101 not out to guide England past Sri Lanka and cement themselves top of group 1.
Whilst South Africa and Australia could both match England’s 8 points by the end of the group stages, it would take an incredible turn of events to reach the Three Lions’ current run rate placing England in a comfortable position to reach the semi-final.
England lost the toss for the first time this tournament against Sri Lanka and were put into bat first.
A solid 40 runs from 36 balls from captain Eoin Morgan supported the star of the show Jos Buttler.
Jos started slowly, breaking the record for the slowest T20 half century scored by an Englishman, but this wouldn’t be the only record he would hold by the end of the match. By the end of his innings Buttler became the only English male player to have a T20, ODI and Test-Match century to his name.
Buttler’s fifty was reached in 45 balls, but after this he exploded. In the 15th over he hit two sixes, both over long-off which proved to be a turning point in his innings. The Lancashire opener is known for his big hitting and against Sri Lanka he hit six sixes. His most impressive coming off the last ball of the inngings where he smashed a full toss over square leg to reach three figures.
Buttler has received high praise following his performance with Australian cricket legend Shane Warne naming Jos Buttler as the “greatest English white ball cricketer of all time.”
But the victory wasn’t all down to Buttler. Sri Lanka were set a total of 161 runs to chase and started relatively strongly.
However, as so many teams have come to find, England’s fielding was just too strong. Sensational catches from Jason Roy and substitute Sam Billings halted Sri Lanka’s progress. And when Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka was run out superbly by Buttler the game looked all but over.
The final three wickets all fell within 7 balls and Sri Lanka were all out for 137.
“I thought Eoin got absolutely everything right and you sense that. Something hits it and you think ‘that’s a four or a six’ and there’s a fielder there, hits it again, there’s another fielder there. Everything they did was spot on in those last 15 or 20 minutes.”Nasser Hussain on Morgan and buttler’s dominance in the last 8 overs
England’s victory means captain Eoin Morgan now has 43 wins as captain making him the most successful international T20 captain in World cricket. Morgan came under fire for his team selection coming into the tournament but has so far proven his critics wrong.
Unfortunately for Morgan though, not all eleven who started the match finished it, with Tymal Mills having to come off with a shoulder injury, which will be assessed ahead of their next match.
England will now be focusing on maintaining their unbeaten run in the tournament when they face South Africa on Saturday.