ENG vs NZ: Can Santner And Sodhi Stop The Jos Buttler Juggernaut?
England opener Jos Buttler in action in the ICC T20 World Cup© AFP
The ICC T20 World Cup has reached its business end and the England vs New Zealand first semi-final is a repeat of the last 4 clash from the 2016 edition of the tournament when Eoin Morgan’s team had beaten the Kiwis to enter the summit clash. The two teams also clashed in the final of the 2019 ICC World Cup, which will go down in the annals of cricketing history as one of the finest matches ever played. Morgan’s men are in incredible form in this tournament too, but they know they can’t take Kane Williamson’s team lightly. New Zealand are fantastic tournament side and they have several match winners in their ranks. But to stop this well-oiled English machine, the Blackcaps will have to win the key battles.
The most important of them all will be during the powerplay of England’s innings. Jason Roy’s loss to injury notwithstanding, England have the fire power up top to bat the opposition out of the match. Jos Buttler has been England’s guiding light with the bat in this tournament.
Buttler, with 240 runs, is the second highest run-getter in T20 World Cup, 2021. He is the only batsman to hit a century in this tournament so far. Buttler has smashed 13 sixes so far which is also the most by a batsman in this World Cup.
62.5% of his runs have come in boundaries so far (150/240) and the fearsome opener is on the threshold of breaking several England records in T20 World Cup history. The Kiwis need to plan well as Buttler has scored 176 runs in 8 innings, including a fifty while batting at number 6, against them. He has an average of 35.20 and strike rate of 155.75 against the Kiwis, which is the best among all the teams he has played against in T20Is.
One way to stop this juggernaut could be to introduce spin early as Buttler likes the ball coming on to his bat and is severe against fast bowlers in the powerplay. While he also a good player of spin, the slow pace could force him to go for shots and that could play in the hands of the Kiwis.
Ish Sodhi is the ideal candidate for a face-off with Buttler. The leggie will spin the ball away from the right-handed Buttler and could make scoring difficult. Sodhi has dismissed Buttler twice in the past too.
Even the left-arm spin of Mitchell Santner can be a good ploy against Buttler as the angle at which Santner bowls can make it tough for Buttler’s freewheeling style of batting.
It’s a big match tonight and sending back Buttler early could be a huge boost for Williamson’s team.
Topics mentioned in this article