England took complete control of their group at the T20 World Cup on Monday night by beating Sri Lanka by 27 runs on a steamy, stressful night in Sharjah – an experience Jos Buttler declared would serve to make even stronger one of the two outstanding sides of the World Cup so far.
“It was a great win for us as a team,” said Buttler, whose scintillating 67-ball century was instrumental in dragging the side to an ultimately match-winning 163 for four.
“The three matches before we’ve won the toss and done what we wanted to do. Today to be on the worse end of the conditions, to show the character we did as a side, one of our bowlers getting injured, guys having to step up and bowl overs at tough times – I think what that will do for us as a side is fantastic.”
Tymal Mills pulled up with a right quad injury midway through his second over, forcing England to hurriedly rewrite their bowling plans. But it was a night for overcoming adversity, with Buttler and Eoin Morgan scoring freely in the latter stages of England’s innings after they reached the halfway point on 47 for three.
“The way we were finding the wicket, we were saying 120 might be a good score to keep us in the game,” Buttler said. “Obviously that would have been well short with the way conditions changed. But I think sometimes when you set your sights a little bit lower, it allows you to stay calmer. The depth we have in the team allows you to play with freedom at the same time.”
Morgan’s 40 off 36 balls, accelerating after a slow start, was his highest score for 13 innings going back more than a year. “I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve done tonight,” he said. “The guys had to fight unbelievably hard. Sri Lanka have pushed us further than we’ve been pushed so far in this tournament, and we’re just delighted with the win.”
Meanwhile the English umpire Michael Gough has been placed into isolation after breaching tournament protocols by leaving his hotel last Friday to meet people outside the officials’ bubble.
Gough had officiated in three World Cup matches, but was pulled from the game between India and New Zealand on Sunday and is confined to his hotel room. He is scheduled to return to the middle in the game between New Zealand and Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
An ICC spokesperson said: “The biosecurity advisory committee has instructed umpire Michael Gough to isolate for six days due to a breach of the event biosecurity protocols.”