Jos Buttler brushes off criticism as England get World Cup campaign back on track

England

Jos Buttler, England’s captain, praised his players for blocking out the noise and focussing on the task of beating Oman in style, as the T20 World Cup defending champions produced a command performance that has put them back on course for Super Eight qualification.

England needed a grand total of 99 deliveries to beat Oman in the first of two must-win matches in three days, with Buttler himself striking 24 not out from eight deliveries to hunt down a victory target of 48 in just 3.1 overs.

In so doing, England transformed their net run-rate from -1.8 to +3.08, placing them ahead of Scotland’s figure of 2.16, meaning that they will progress at the Scots’ expense from a tightly contested Group B if there are no more upsets or washouts in the remaining fixtures.

Though the speed of England’s chase was a key factor in the NRR boost, the match was set up by a thrilling bowling display, led by Adil Rashid‘s 4 for 11, with Mark Wood and Jofra Archer both returning the excellent figures of 3 for 12.

“I thought the tone was set really well by the bowlers,” Buttler said at the post-match presentations. “We managed to pick up those early wickets and restrict them and knock them off, so job done today and we’ve got another big game in two days’ time.”

Asked if he had been surprised by the mood around England’s campaign, after one washed-out contest against Scotland and a poor display against Australia in Barbados, Buttler smiled and acknowledged that he’d seen it all before.

“I’ve been around long enough to know how it works,” he told Nasser Hussain, who was conducting the post-match interviews. “How guys like you make some comments, so that’s fine. That’s part of your job. I don’t mind. We know what’s going on in the dressing room. We have lots of confidence in our team and we have another huge match to come.”

That match is against Namibia on Saturday, at the same venue in Antigua, which ought to suit England’s bowling attack given the steep bounce on offer for the quick bowlers and the sharp spin that Rashid extracted in the course of his four superbly executed overs.

“I thought they bowled brilliantly,” Buttler said. “[Reece] Topley with his height, Jofra Archer with that high release point as well. They were really challenging bowlers on that surface. I thought they bowled a really good line and length.

“I don’t think any of us expected the wicket to probably play like it did,” he added. “It looked a really good surface. But yeah, [Rashid] found spin and obviously you know what a threat he is. He bowled fantastically well.”

England’s run-chase was ignited by Phil Salt’s volley of two sixes from the first two balls – the first such instance in a T20I since Spain versus the Isle of Man in February 2023, and sealed 17 balls later by Jonny Bairstow’s second four in as many balls.

“Just be ultra-positive,” Buttler said, when asked what his message to the batters had been. “We’ve spoken in the lead-up to this about we have to win games, and if we get a chance we have to try and take advantage with the net run-rate, and we managed to do that today.

“We can only focus on ourselves. We’ve got a huge game against Namibia and all focus now is on that.”

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