A performance like this one shows we are a dangerous side, says England batting star
England, the defending ICC World Twenty20 champion, set the marker for the rest of the field with a power-packed performance against Afghanistan, making it clear that the chasing pack will have to play outstanding cricket to dethrone it.
“A performance like that shows that we are a dangerous side,” said Luke Wright, who masterminded England’s batting stint with an unbeaten 99. “Naturally, the subcontinent sides are always going to be favourites in these conditions. We’ve worked very hard on facing spin, and we are quietly confident in the change room. If everyone is in a good confident space, then it makes you a dangerous side. It’s important going forward.
“We always back our bowling. The bowling has been brilliant ever since I played with England and even watching from the outside, it has always been very impressive. If we can keep getting scores on the board, then I think we will be a dangerous side.”
Wright fell one run short of becoming the first Englishman to make a Twenty20 International hundred. “I suppose it’s always a disappointment not to finish with a hundred, but if I had been offered that this morning, I would have snapped anyone’s hand off,” he laughed. “I was so tired by the end, I was just happy to keep the board going. The most important thing was that we got a big total. I think the scoreboard pressure really had a big import going into our bowling.”
Wright, who said he is in the form of his life, attributed his success for Sussex in England this season to his stint in the Big Bash in Australia. “Working with different players has made a huge difference to my batting,” Wright said. “The Big Bash was huge for me. Not only going there to Australia and doing well, but working with people like David Hussey and those guys in the nets helped me hugely.
“Seeing how those guys strike the ball and working with them on how they go about constructing innings rubbed off on me a little bit. When you naturally go to these places, you just keep picking different people’s brains and try and add that into your game. Probably a bit of maturity has helped but there still is a lot of learning left to do.”
Having made centuries in the Big Bash and for Sussex in the English domestic Twenty20 competition, Wright said scoring runs for his country was special. “I was desperate to get back playing for England,” he said. “I have said a few times that I feel like I am a better player this time round. It’s about time to show that. Today felt very special, having come a long way back from injury to get back on this road. I am obviously delighted that we won today and we go into the India game with pressure off after this win.”
That India game is on Sunday, with both teams already having nailed down Super Eights berths. “It’s nice going into that game now that we are obviously through,” Wright remarked. “It will not define whether we can win it (the title) or not, if we win or lose the India game. But obviously, if we win that game, it will be a huge confidence boost for ourselves.
“The more T20s I’ve played, I have realised that it’s all about momentum and confidence. When you are scratching around for a bit of form, it always makes it a bit harder when you are worried about getting out. I think the batters have all been scoring runs. The confidence is there and if we can do that against India, it will be huge.”