USA look to thwart England’s charge towards semi-finals

England

Match details

USA vs England
Barbados, June 23, 10.30am local time

Big picture – Can USA upset calculations?

If this is the end of the road for USA’s memorable T20 World Cup 2024 journey – they could still squeak into the semi-finals, but the odds are very much against them – then what a stage on which to bow out, facing up to the defending champions with one last chance to cause an upset.

England and USA have met at both football and rugby World Cups but this will be their first cricketing encounter of the modern age. Jos Buttler‘s side have endured a choppy campaign so far, winning three and losing two to go with a no result in their opening match at Kensington Oval. But they return to Barbados knowing that a convincing performance will go a long way to ensuring their title defence continues into the knockouts.

Victory will put them on four points, and a margin of more than ten runs (batting first) will ensure their net run-rate goes above that of South Africa, who then take on West Indies in the final Group 2 game later on Sunday.

England’s cushion comes from their convincing win over the other co-hosts West Indies at the start of the Super Eight, and Buttler remained upbeat after his side lost a close game to South Africa in St Lucia. England have rarely been at their best over the last three weeks in the Caribbean but there have been signs that their game is coming together at the right time for a tilt at becoming the first team to successfully defend the T20 World Cup trophy.

Before they get that far, they must avoid a mishap against a USA side that burned brightly at the start of the tournament but has looked to be running low on gas after three defeats in a row against Full Member oppositions. Their success has already put the names of Aaron Jones, Monank Patel and Saurabh Netravalkar in lights. If they can summon one final effort and become the latest former colony to put one over on the mother country, it will add another sprinkle of Hollywood stardust to cricket’s American adventure.

Form guide

USA LLLWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
England LWWWL

In the spotlight – Aaron Jones and Liam Livingstone

Aaron Jones‘ six over midwicket to seal a rousing opening-night win over Canada was the shot that was heard around the World Cup. He followed up a career-defining 94 not out by helping secure the tie that eventually led to USA’s Super Over victory over Pakistan, but has found the going tougher since then, with scores of 11, 0 and 11. Taking on the captaincy, in the absence of the injured Monank, has added to his burden. But he has another chance to impress at a ground where he played in four first-class matches for Barbados during his time in West Indies’ domestic system.

An innings of 33 off 17 balls in a losing cause might not sound much, but could it turn out to be the spark Liam Livingstone needed? Livingstone’s attempt to get England over the line against South Africa, helping to revive their chase while adding 78 for the fifth wicket alongside Harry Brook, was only the second time he has scored more than 30 in 22 T20 innings this year. His power when taking down Ottneil Baartman at the death was a reminder of what he can do, and suggested that he may be ready to repay England’s faith that he remains the answer in the finisher role.

Team news – England unlikely to make any changes

USA have been without Monank since their group-stage win over Pakistan, but head coach Stuart Law suggested he was close to returning from a shoulder injury. “He’s getting better, we’re constantly assessing him,” Law said after the defeat to West Indies on Friday. “Unfortunately, he nearly made it for this one. So, we’re constantly assessing it.”

USA (probable): 1 Steven Taylor, 2 Andries Gous (wk), 3 Nitish Kumar, 4 Aaron Jones (capt), 5 Corey Anderson, 6 Shayan Jahangir, 7 Harmeet Singh, 8 Nosthush Kenjinge, 9 Shadley van Schalkwyk, 10 Ali Khan, 11 Saurabh Netravalkar

England may be unchanged for the third match running, having apparently settled on Jonny Bairstow at No. 3 and Sam Curran as the extra bowling/left-hand batter option. Chris Jordan could replace Mark Wood to add further depth to the batting.

England (probable): 1 Phil Salt, 2 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 3 Jonny Bairstow, 4 Moeen Ali, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Chris Jordan/Mark Wood, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Adil Rashid 11 Reece Topley

Pitch and conditions

Kensington Oval is one of only two venues at this World Cup to have seen a 200-plus score, but generally, the pitches have been on the tacky side. The forecast for Sunday has improved although there is still a chance of rainfall interrupting proceedings.

Stats and trivia

  • This will be the first meeting between England and USA with full international status in any format
  • England have played 13 completed T20Is in Bridgetown, winning six (including the 2010 T20 World Cup final) and losing seven
  • Sam Curran needs one more wicket to reach 50 in T20Is

Quotes

“We’ve just got to win the game. We haven’t played them before so it’ll be a good challenge and we’re looking forward to it. The games come thick and fast now so we’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again. We’ve had a great win against the West Indies, a great game today which was a shame not to win but we’re still in it and looking ahead to the next one.”
Jos Buttler readies his troops to go again

“I think every match we play, obviously, representing the country is important. So, we’ll definitely go hard against England and try to finish well. Obviously, we can’t advance to the next round. But as I say, I think every match you play for your country is important. So, we’re definitely going to try to win the game for sure.”
Aaron Jones promises USA will go for it (even if he’s given up on the semis)

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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