Buttler in bullish mood after bashing half-century for England
Somerset’s Jos Buttler described England’s 46-run win over a New Zealand XI yesterday as a “perfect” way to start their tour.
Buttler’s maiden 50 for his country, captain Stuart Broad’s hat-trick and three wickets each for Chris Woakes and Jade Dernbach were the eye-catching individual contributions as England began their campaign with a comfortable success in their first Twenty20 warm-up fixture in Whangarei.
Buttler and Woakes’ performances were the most significant, both to give England the edge yesterday and cheer for the future.
Broad’s intervention – when the match was already as good as won – brought him the statistical highlight and Dernbach recovered from an unpromising start to take the key wicket of Colin Munro (55). But it was Buttler (57 not out) who did most to carry England, in company with Eoin Morgan, up to 186 for three at Cobham Oval – and then Woakes eliminated both openers cheaply to put the hosts’ unlikely chase in immediate trouble.
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Buttler dominated an unbroken stand of 77 with Morgan but was adamant afterwards others deserved credit. “It was great to get our first win, and obviously it was a really good all-round performance from everyone,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“I think as a blueprint for a batting plan, it was perfect. Wickets in hand at the end allow people to come in, as I did, and score freely at the end. It was testament to the guys ahead of me.
“They realised it was a bit of hard work and, instead of playing any rash shots, they got through that hard period and built a brilliant position for me to come in at the end.
“It’s the perfect way to set up a Twenty20 innings, for that explosive finish at the end. With people like Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel to come in, there’s a lot of power. So it gives us that licence to be really aggressive.”
Buttler is clearly earmarked by England as a potential star, particularly in the short formats. But the 22-year-old has had to be patient, after 21 international matches so far, to record his first half-century. Even if it was only in a tour fixture, it was a telling milestone for the Somerset man.
“It’s obviously a proud moment,” he said. “I’d better not get too far ahead of myself – tomorrow is another day.”