Chris Silverwood revels in England’s emphatic T20 World Cup start

Chris Silverwood lauded England for starting their T20 World Cup campaign in a “ruthless” fashion but he recognises the pieces will not always fall into place as they did against the West Indies.

England gained a measure of revenge for losing the 2016 final to the same opponents with a disciplined bowling display backed up by flawless fielding as the Windies capitulated to 55 all out in 14.2 overs in a sultry Dubai.

It was the third lowest total in the tournament’s history and the worst by a Test-playing nation, with Adil Rashid’s four wickets for two runs the best T20 analysis by an England bowler.

Moeen Ali collected two for 17, as did Tymal Mills on a heart-warming return to international cricket after an injury-plagued four-year absence.

England hurried to their total with six wickets and 11.4 overs to spare, giving their net run-rate a sizeable boost, and although head coach Silverwood was naturally delighted, he is pragmatic enough to stay level-headed.

Silverwood said: “It was really good to watch that ruthless streak come out. We’ve had teams before 34 for three, 40 for three in the powerplay and maybe not pushed as hard, but what I saw was that ruthless streak come out.

“That’s one that everyone dreams of. I think we can certainly take confidence from it with how well we executed our skills, how well we caught. But we’re very aware that it’s not always going to happen like that.

“We’ve got to be real, and this is a message I’ll be passing on during training, which is that it’s one win, that’s brilliant, great to get the points in the bag and get net run-rate up, but it’s a start, that’s just what it is.

“We’re heading into the next game now and we’ve got to assume it won’t be as easy because the chances are it won’t be. There’s got to be an element of realism about it as well.”

Moeen Ali, pictured, was hailed by England head coach Chris Silverwood (Aijaz Rahi/AP/PA)
Moeen Ali, pictured, was hailed by England head coach Chris Silverwood (Aijaz Rahi/AP/PA)

Rashid’s figures were described as “very special” by Silverwood after he took the last four wickets, with fellow spinner Moeen setting the tone at the outset, bowling three overs in the powerplay having taken the new ball.

For Moeen, who thumped 37 not out off 20 balls to help Chennai Super Kings to victory in the Indian Premier League final earlier this month, his figures were his most economical spell in T20 internationals.

Silverwood said: “He’s on top of a wave at the moment. He’s enjoying himself. He sees a real purpose to what he’s doing and he sees how he fits into that team. Whenever he’s in that position, he’s a very dangerous character.

“Around the dressing room he adds a lot of value – the knowledge he’s got through cricket, but he’s very good at pulling people together as well and it’s an important cog in the wheel inside the dressing room.”

Despite scrutiny on his position Dawid Malan retained his spot in the starting XI on Saturday but it was curious that he was persistently shuffled down the order in England’s innings as they tried to buttress their net run-rate.

England are relaxed over a niggle to Mark Wood's left ankle (Adam Davy/PA)
England are relaxed over a niggle to Mark Wood’s left ankle (Adam Davy/PA)

Silverwood, though, believes the world number one ranked T20 batter, renowned for starting his innings slowly before accelerating after about 20 balls, will add full value on potentially tricky United Arab Emirates pitches.

Silverwood said: “It’s common knowledge that we want flexibility in that batting line-up and we saw an opportunity to get that run rate up and we took it. it’s nothing more than that. He was fine.

“To have him up the top of the order, he can act like a glue for us. I think it is a role he does very well.”

Mark Wood was omitted because of a concern to his left ankle that has required multiple surgeries. He has had an injection but Silverwood moved to allay any concerns and may even be in contention to face Bangladesh on Wednesday.

Silverwood added: “He’s fine. He has got a little niggle in his ankle, but nothing drastic, nothing that we’re overly worried about. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him soon.”