Jos Buttler defends England line-up as T20 world champions lose to Bangladesh

Jos Buttler defended the composition of his England side but admitted they failed to score enough runs as their first T20 since being crowned world champions ended in defeat.

An England team containing seven individuals who played in the T20 World Cup final last November seemed light on batting against Bangladesh and posted what turned out to be a below-par 156 for six.

Buttler’s 67 off 42 balls appeared to have given England a springboard but some canny death bowling from Bangladesh’s quicks restricted the tourists to just 21 runs in the final four overs in Chattogram.

Bangladesh sealed a six-wicket win over England (Aijaz Rahi/AP)
Bangladesh sealed a six-wicket win over England (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

Najmul Hossain Shanto’s broke the back of the chase with 51 off 30 balls then Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan’s 34 not out off 24 deliveries got his side home with six wickets and two overs to spare.

Buttler said at the post-match presentation ceremony: “We were in a position to kick on and launch it at the end but we couldn’t manage to get away and we were probably 20 short of where we wanted to be.

“We then chased it a little bit in the field. If we had extra runs on the board it would have been a
little bit easier but Bangladesh came out and played with a lot of intent, took the game on and put us under a lot of pressure.”

England have only 13 players to choose from after deciding against replacing either the injured Tom Abell or Will Jacks, allowing Sam Curran, the player of the tournament and final at the T20 World Cup, a top-six role with Chris Woakes batting in his highest position of number seven in this format.

Buttler added: “It’s a differently balanced team, we’ve got a lot of good all-rounders and that gives you a lot of options. We’re blessed with options and that’s a nice position to be in in the field.”

Buttler put on 80 in the first 10 overs alongside Phil Salt, who bristled with intent but became bogged down against slow left-armers Shakib and Nasum Ahmed and made a stodgy 38 off 35 balls.

It marks the second match in a row that Salt has gotten out in the 30s – having done so in the final ODI against Bangladesh in a series England won 2-1 – and he acknowledged his disappointment afterwards.

He said: “They are the most frustrating ones for me because you want to be the guy who goes on to win the game. That is the mark of a world-class player, someone who goes on and wins it.”

Salt would have liked to take a leaf out of Buttler’s book, with the England captain thumping four fours and four sixes before holing out, one of four wickets to fall in the last five overs.

Salt labelled his occasional England colleague and Lancashire and Manchester Originals team-mate as the best limited-overs batter around.

Phil Salt, right, was out in the 30s for a second game in a row (Aijaz Rahi/AP)
Phil Salt, right, was out in the 30s for a second game in a row (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

Salt said: “To be honest, he’s probably my favourite opening partner, he has so many different options, the skill level is so high.

“In white-ball cricket around the world at the moment he is the benchmark with the bat, the best around. Everyone wants to emulate him. I definitely want to emulate him.”

After Bangladesh got off to a flyer in response, a wicket apiece for Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer checked their progress but Najmul flayed Mark Wood for four successive fours to ignite their charge.

His hard-hitting made it six consecutive fours following back-to-back boundaries from Towhid Hridoy at the back end of Chris Woakes’ preceding over which put Bangladesh in pole position in the first of three T20s.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan helped his side to victory (Aijaz Rahi/AP)
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan helped his side to victory (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

Najmul was dismissed shortly after his fantastic 27-ball fifty but Shakib and Afif Hossain, who contributed 15 not out to an unbroken 46-run stand, made sure there was no dramatic twist.

For Shakib, whose side finished second bottom in their T20 World Cup group, victory over England marked an ideal start as they build towards the 2024 tournament in the Caribbean.

He said: “This is a very good start and we just build from here. We can only get better and then put a very good team in at the World Cup.”

The series resumes in Dhaka on Sunday.