Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Alex Hales took the pressure off me v New Zealand, says Jos Buttler as team heads for final Super 12 game v Sri Lanka

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Brisbane : England skipper Jos Buttler is happy playing second fiddle to opening partner Alex Hales as long as it serves the purpose of the team in the ICC T20 World Cup here, with the 33-year-old after having recently returned to the side following three years in cricketing wilderness making an impact in several campaigns.

Hales played another masterly knock of 52 off 40 deliveries at the top, with his skipper too contributing 72 as England posted an extremely challenging 179/6, which was way beyond New Zealand’s reach and they fell 20 runs short of the target on Tuesday.

Asked if it was planned that Hales would accelerate the innings and Buttler would join the party later, the England skipper replied, “No, not at all, but he (Hales) certainly took the pressure off. I thought he played some fantastic shots.

He’s an intimidating guy to bowl at. He struck the ball incredibly cleanly, and I thought the way he got us off to that start settled maybe a lot of nerves.”Buttler said Hales’ innings underscored the point that a good start in the first six overs of powerplay can work wonders for the team’s morale.

“Certainly when you’re watching the team being down after the first six (overs of powerplay), being in strong position, especially when you’ve won the toss and batted as well. So great knock from him (Hales),” added Buttler.

Buttler added the 20-run win against New Zealand had lifted the morale of the side following the loss to Ireland and the abandoned game against Australia, and there was a spring in the steps going into the final Super 12 game against Sri Lanka.

“Yeah, we’ll prepare really well (for Sri Lanka). I think it’s a big relief to be heading to that last game knowing we have a chance at progressing. It would be a tough flight tomorrow if we’d lost tonight especially.

So, yeah, we go there really excited. I think the team is in a really good place after tonight. Again, as I said earlier, it showed great character in a must win match.”We’ll head to Sydney full of confidence and expecting a really tough game against Sri Lanka,” he added.



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