With England all set to play their semi-final against India in the Men’s T20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval, skipper Jos Buttler is banking on the inputs given by players in the side who have sufficient experience of playing previously at the venue.
The picturesque Adelaide Oval is the only venue where England have not played a match in this tournament. From the current squad, leg-spinner Adil Rashid, opener Alex Hales, fast-bowling all-rounder Chris Jordan and batter Phil Salt have had experience of playing a large number of matches at the venue, thanks to their stints with Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League (BBL).
While Rashid, Hales and Jordan played only one season for the Strikers, Salt has played over 30 matches at the Adelaide Oval while representing the Strikers in the BBL between 2019 and 2021. With Adelaide Oval having short square boundaries and longer ones down the ground, it represents a different challenge for England.
“Tactically it may be a bit different. The dimensions and the surface we play on obviously have a big impact on the way you bat and bowl on those surfaces, so we’ve done some good things. We have guys who have played at Adelaide before, and we go into the game with some good ideas, and we’re react well on our feet when we have to.
“Having talked to the groundsman, his team is really confident that he’s had a lot of time to get some really good work into the wicket. He seems very comfortable that it’s going to be a really good surface and a consistent surface," said Buttler in the pre-match press conference.
With the match being played on a used pitch, Buttler remarked he’s aiming for a winning score on the ground which has a reputation for a good batting show. “At the moment I have no worries about the pitch. I think from all the information I’ve got at the minute, it looks like the wicket should be consistent for 40 overs. It looks quite like the Adelaide Oval to me.
“If we set first, we want to post a score that can’t be chased, and obviously we’ll be confident to chase anything down batting second. Historically I think if you look at the stats, it shows about 165 is around the par score here, but I’m not really interested in a par score, I’m interested in a winning score tomorrow."
With their return to the Adelaide Oval for a knock-out match in a World Cup, it evokes unpleasant memories for England. In 2015, Bangladesh had sent them crashing out of the ODI World Cup, which would turn out to be the catalyst for their transformation in white-ball cricket, resulting in 2019 50-over title as well as 2016 T20 World Cup runners-up finish and making semifinals of 2021 and ongoing edition.
“We were actually just talking about that in the dressing room, a few of us were. Anytime you go back to certain grounds there’s some moments or memories that were, and not always good ones, unfortunately. But it’s been clear to see the change in sort of mindset in English cricket towards the white ball game since that game went that way and especially the way we’ve played. The way we’ve played has given us better results, so that gives us a lot of trust in that process that it works.
“I think even going back to the Pakistan tour, some younger guys coming into the group, there seems an ingrained way of playing now in English cricket. It’s been a fantastic journey to be involved in. Going back to that point, it was a real line in the sand, I would say. That moment in English white ball cricket, and to be now into a semifinal and going to tournaments with a level of expectation that we should perform well is a great place to be as a team," elaborated Buttler.