The cricket world has been lit on fire by England’s revolutionary approach to Test cricket in 2022.
However, the question remains whether England are able to channel that form and creativity into the shortest version of the game. Despite being ranked No.2 in the world and having just beaten Australia 2-0 in a pre-World Cup series, T20 is arguably England’s weakest format of cricket at the moment.
Can they take their T20 game up a gear in Australia over the next three weeks, and get the T20 World Cup 2022 crown to go with their ODI World Cup silverware back home?
We break down England’s chances ahead of the Super 12 phase beginning this weekend, and look at all of the factors influencing their World Cup campaign.
T20 World Cup 2022 England Team Analysis
England have announced a 15-man squad that have travelled to Australia to mount their T20 World Cup 2022 campaign. Here are the players selected:
Jos Buttler (captain), Alex Hales, Ben Stokes, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone, Harry Brock, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Philip Salt, Chris Jordan, Reece Topley, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood.
Potential First XI
Opening with a match against Afghanistan this Saturday, England’s starting 11 could look like this:
- Jos Buttler (captain)
- Alex Hales
- Dawid Malan
- Moeen Ali
- Liam Livingstone
- Ben Stokes
- Sam Curran
- David Willey
- Chris Jordan
- Reece Topley
- Adil Rashid
Strengths of the English Squad
England are third favorite to win the T20 World Cup 2022 at most major bookmakers, behind Australia and India. These odds are for good reason, because they have put together a strong team and excellent results in the second half of this year. Here are two key strengths of the English squad:
Highly Competitive Top Six
Based on the predicted starting 11 above, England will have two batsmen in hot form sitting on the bench. Not only does this keep the starting lineup on its toes, but it also provides excellent options should any of the existing options fail to fire.
These two form batsmen are the young Harry Brook and Phil Salt. Salt has 235 runs at 164.33 this season, while Brook is on 316 at 149.05. These are phenomenal figures, with both men having played match-winning 80+ not out scores recently against Pakistan.
Stokes and Buttler
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler epitomise England, and are exactly the kind of players you want to build a T20 side around.
That’s exactly what England have done, and expect both men to stand tall for their country this World Cup. Between them, they have well over 500 international caps and a wealth of experience in pressure situations. When it’s 20 required off the last over, or the team has lost three quick wickets in the powerplay, it’s these men you want walking to the crease.
Weaknesses of the English Squad
There’s no doubt that England have a strong squad to challenge this World Cup, however, it’s far from perfect. Here are some potential areas of weakness for England:
The Absence of Bairstow and Morgan
While England have plenty of batting options, there’s no getting away from the fact that Eoin Morgan retiring, and Jonny Bairstow suffering a freak injury leaves a hole in the squad.
Morgan was the talisman that the side built around, the English MS Dhoni who could take an innings deep and win it at the end, regardless of what it took. Bairstow on the other hand, provided the experience and firepower at the top that Alex Hales tries to bring, but falls short of. It’s hard to get away from the feeling that when this English side comes under pressure, they’ll miss having the likes of Bairstow and Morgan to perform.
Expensive Fast Bowlers
Clearly, England have batting firepower—in recent years, their whole approach to cricket has been built around batting big and aggressive.
However, at times this has come at the cost of a strong bowling unit. Right now, England’s three lead fast bowlers all have T20I economy rates of well over eight per over, with arguably their star bowler, Chris Jordan, the worst at 8.72. While England may be able to set big totals, this is no good if their bowlers are unable to restrict the runs at their end.
Predicted Performers for England
If England are to make it deep in this World Cup, let alone progress beyond their group, they will need some players to step up. Here’s who might do that:
- Ben Stokes—this year has been a revolution for Stokes in terms of his leadership of the Test side. The fiery all-rounder has retired from ODI cricket to focus on that role, as well as T20 cricket—a move that may well pay dividends over the coming days. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Stokes has won a World Cup for England before, and you wouldn’t bet against him doing it again here.
- Moeen Ali—England’s versatile 35-year-old is likely playing in his last World Cup and will be looking to go out with a bang. With a strike rate of 144.61 across 44 T20Is, Ali is the kind of player who can flip a match on its head in ten balls—with the bat, or the ball. Expect the bearded spinner to have an excellent tournament in Australia.
Predicted Flops for England
If England struggle this World Cup, it will be because a few of their key players fail. Here are two candidates that may potentially struggle over the coming weeks:
- Chris Jordan—with no Jofra Archer still, Chris Jordan becomes England’s lead fast bowler in T20Is. However, there’s a disconcerting inconsistency about Jordan, and it could be his inability to rein in the economy rate when it matters that is the downfall of the big bowler. With Mark Wood on the bench, Jordan may well splutter his way out of the playing 11 in the next fortnight.
- Alex Hales—the hard-hitting opener has forced his way back into the English starting lineup, but is yet to completely convince. With the added pressure of no Bairstow or Morgan in support, and the likes of Salt and Brooks chomping at the bit on the sideline, Hales will feel significant pressure to perform. This may not be what the patchy opener needs, and we could see Hales cede his position to Brooks mid-tournament.
England’s Recent Form
England have been in excellent form as of late, with their last five T20Is reading:
- Won by eight wickets with 33 balls remaining (against Pakistan on 30 September)
- Won by 67 runs (against Pakistan on 2 October)
- Won by 8 runs (against Australia on 9 October)
- Won by 8 runs (against Australia on 12 October)
- No result (against Australia on 14 October)
Overall, England are 10-10 in T20Is this year.
Prediction for England’s Group Matches
England sit in Group 1, alongside hosts Australia, world No.5 New Zealand, and potential banana skin Afghanistan. Here’s how we think their group matches will unfold:
- October 22—Afghanistan (England to win)
- October 26—Group B runner-up (England to win)
- October 28—Australia (England to win)
- November 1—New Zealand (New Zealand to win)
- November 5—Group A winner (England to win)
We see Group 1 going down to the wire, with England potentially upsetting hosts Australia in their group match. However, they may fail to capitalize by in turn losing to nemesis New Zealand, meaning that Group 1 could end with England, New Zealand and Australia all on four wins and a loss each.
At this stage, it becomes a coin flip as to who will progress. However, England seem the more likely of the three sides to concede an upset loss to Afghanistan, or even a qualifier, so we have them missing out on the semi-finals in Group 1.
Our verdict: England will finish third in Group 1 and fail to progress to the semi-finals.