Jos Buttler delivered a real captain’s performance in England’s win over New Zealand at the Twenty20 World Cup on Tuesday and bodes well for the remainder of the tournament, former skippers said.
England’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals had been left hanging by a thread after defeat to Ireland and with their match against Australia washed out last week.
But they breathed new life into their campaign by beating New Zealand by 20 runs on Tuesday, with Buttler named Player of the Match after smashing 73 runs and taking a diving catch to dismiss Devon Conway.
“After an indifferent start to the tournament, Buttler needed to lead from the front in Brisbane,” Mike Atherton wrote in the Times.
“And (he) did so, showing sound judgment at the toss, top-scoring and then marshalling the reply in the field in fine style, including a top-class catch down the leg side…
“Defeat would have been all but terminal and so to play so confidently and intelligently, with such verve and dash, in those circumstances bodes well for what is to come.”
Buttler also earned praise for his tactics, including the decision to use five bowlers in the opening six overs of New Zealand’s innings.
“It was one of (Buttler’s) best games as captain. In his 100th T20 international he really has stepped up,” Eoin Morgan, who was replaced as captain by Buttler in June, told Sky Sports.
“Every opportunity he had to impact the game, he tried to take a wicket. He brings Mark Wood back into the game, starts with spin, rotates five bowlers for the first six overs.
“He is using all his experience and he is flying high. I thought he controlled his emotions really well and made brilliant decisions.”
Former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports Buttler had “obviously done his homework in terms of match-ups”.