08 June 2024

Jos Buttler admits ‘gut call’ didn’t pay off as England suffer damaging defeat

08 June 2024

Jos Buttler admitted risking a “gut call” by bowling Will Jacks at the start of England’s heavy defeat to Australia in a gamble that backfired badly.

England sprang a surprise when they handed Jacks the second over of the day in their crucial T20 World Cup game in Barbados, with the Surrey man having sent down a grand total of 12 deliveries in his previous 14 matches at this level.

He was smashed for 22 runs and withdrawn immediately from the attack, giving Australia the impetus to post the highest powerplay score (74) and largest total (201) of the tournament to date.

Buttler’s decision to go against convention was taken in the moment, with Jacks’ fellow off-spinner Moeen Ali starting the innings with a tidy over costing just three runs against Travis Head and David Warner.

While it was far from the only difference in a game settled by a handsome margin of 36, it set the tone for Australia dictating terms and carried the look of an unforced error.

“It was a gut call to go with Jacksy,” said Buttler.

“Hindsight’s very easy to make different decisions. We talked a lot in the build-up about potentially bowling two overs of spin straight away against the two left-handers and Moeen bowled an excellent over first up.

“He is a very good option with his off spin. He’s done that role well in the IPL and I made a gut call today having seen Moeen’s first over. Having seen how that played out, that’s why I went with Will.

“But they hit some good shots, quite extreme conditions with the short boundary and the wind. It was a call that probably didn’t come off today.”

Defeat leaves England with plenty of work to do in Group B, sitting fourth out of five teams and carrying the worst net run-rate in the table.

England head to Antigua next and need not only to win, but to win well against Oman and Namibia to put themselves on course for the Super 8 stage. Neighbours Scotland are well placed to take advantage of any slips.

“The situation we find ourselves in is the situation we find ourselves in. We’ve got to be confident, keep our heads up and look forward to the next one,” said Buttler, who top-scored with 42 in the England chase.

“We’ll keep puffing our chest out and play some really good cricket, which we know we’re capable of. Yes, we were outplayed by Australia. They fully deserved it and I think there’s a little bit of things we want to tidy up.”

Australia spinner Adam Zampa, who took the key wickets of Buttler and Phil Salt, suggested that England lost their composure in the field.

There were visible moments of frustration from a number of individuals as Buttler’s side lacked precision, with Zampa hinting that the flurry of boundaries from Head and Warner had unsettled their opponents.

“I think they were under the pump and it showed,” he said.

“It’s so hard to bowl to us in the powerplay and if your bowlers aren’t summing it up quickly enough it can be frustrating.

“We try not to be like that. We speak about it a little bit. Our leadership isn’t like that, that helps us as bowlers as well.”

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