Eoin Morgan hailed new dad Jos Buttler for hitting new heights with his match-winning 110 not out against Pakistan.
England edged out Pakistan by 12 runs in the second ODI at Southampton, with Buttler’s 50-ball century the epitome of improvised, aggressive stroke play.
Buttler and wife Louise recently celebrated the arrival of their first child, daughter Georgia Rose, and the 28-year-old celebrated his century with the classic baby-rocking gesture.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admitted the tourists had no answers to Buttler’s brutal hitting, while England skipper Morgan believes the Taunton-born star just keeps getting better and better.
As this @CricViz graphic suggests, Jos Buttler has been one of the most destructive batsmen at the death in recent times. Since the ICC 2015 CWC, he strikes at 181.2 in the last ten overs, more than any player in the final phase of an innings. #ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/quL5yRnrNj— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) May 11, 2019
Asked if Buttler had scaled new levels with his stunning knock, Morgan said: “I think so.
“When he plays innings like that, and they seem to be grouped closer and closer together, it means we’re very fortunate to have him in our side.”
Buttler and Morgan posted a 162-run stand as England struck 373 for three in the second ODI against Pakistan.
England rotated resources, omitting World Cup bolter Jofra Archer in a bid to hand other seamers time on the wicket. And Morgan admitted some quality players will miss the cut for the final World Cup squad.
The England skipper insisted however that recent addition Archer’s availability is not itself driving standards.
“I think they are all pushing each other,” said Morgan. “It’s a bit like our batting unit the last two or three years. Guys have come in and done well. And guys will miss out.
“It’s going to be a tough decision regardless of how they have performed. For the last four years David Willey and Liam Plunkett in particular have reacted really well when being put under pressure. You ask them to do more and they respond really well.
“I thought Liam Plunkett bowled beautifully, even when he came back in that middle spell. It didn’t actually swing much today. I thought all the bowlers today who were put under the pump, when we couldn’t take wickets throughout that whole 30-over period, they reacted really well.”
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Former England captain Michael Vaughan doubts whether Alex Hales will play international cricket again after the big-hitting batsman was cast out following his recent suspension.
Hales was named in England’s preliminary 15-man World Cup squad only to be dropped last week after a newspaper report revealed the 30-year-old was serving a 21-day ban for a second positive drugs test.
Limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan scolded Hales for showing “complete disregard” for team values and admitted a meeting of senior players sealed the Nottinghamshire player’s fate.
Vaughan said on the Tuffers and Vaughan podcast on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I don’t know how he comes back from this.
“He has lost the opportunity of playing for his country in a World Cup on home soil and he’ll live with that forever.
“Eoin Morgan spoke brilliantly, very mature, great leadership, everything he said was to the point. It is a message to Alex Hales that this England side isn’t going to mess around anymore.”
England have placed great store in their professionalism and discipline in the past year, a direct response to a late night incident in Bristol that eventually saw Ben Stokes cleared in crown court on a charge of affray and the messy Ashes tour which followed in 2017/18.
Hales was suspended and fined by the England and Wales cricket Board’s cricket Discipline Commission for his role in Bristol, as well as for some social media posts.
Vaughan added: “Bristol was a line-in-the-sand moment, they all realise they have to be better role models.
“Alex Hales was on a 12-month suspended sentence from his actions in Bristol. I don’t know how he comes back from this, he has lost the trust of the team.
“It’s not a great look for the game but I think the England team have dealt with it in the best way they can. The conversation with Hales would have been hard but easy in a way because he has let them down.
“If you’re a professional sports person not thinking clearly you are not in a position to represent your country in a World Cup. I just hope he gets some quality people around him to give him advice.”
England kicked off their World Cup summer with a tense victory in Ireland, as Ben Foakes overshadowed fellow debutant Jofra Archer with a match-winning turn in Malahide.
Archer was easily the most hyped of the six first-timers on show, three in each side, but while he opened his international account with a stump-toppling yorker and regularly reached 90mph, England would have been heading home defeated were it not for Foakes’ cool-headed 61 not out.
Chasing 199, the visitors were reduced to 66-5 when the Surrey wicketkeeper calmed things down and began the painstaking process of reeling in the target and delivering a four-wicket win with three overs to spare.
Unlike Archer, Foakes’ chances of making the World Cup are slim, with the rested duo Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow untouchable among wicketkeeper-batsmen, but his contribution was easily the definitive one.
Foakes had already made a big intervention with a contentious stumping of Andrew Balbirnie that straddled a line between inspired, opportunistic and unchivalrous.
Nothing in the rules spoke against his belated flick of the bails as Balbirnie’s foot lifted and if anything it offered evidence of the Surrey gloveman’s razor-sharp instincts.
Play began two hours late due to a sodden outfield, with the contest reduced to 45 overs a side as a result. Ireland were still dismissed 11 balls ahead of time as Liam Plunkett and Tom Curran responded to Archer’s arrival by sharing seven wickets.
The pair are among the incumbents looking over the shoulder ahead but did their best to remind the selectors of their value, combining to restrict the hosts to what had seemed a gentle total.
Archer was selected for new-ball duty but failed to land a killer blow in an initial four-over burst. Paul Stirling proved a thorn in his side, taking the Sussex man for four boundaries, including a punch through point from Archer’s very first delivery.
He did not have long to wait to be involved in his first dismissal, though, stooping to catch Stirling as Curran made the breakthrough. England, and Archer, were off and running but Ireland were about to stumble from 55 without loss to 77-4.
Plunkett, whose form has been patchy of late, prised out William Porterfield and Lorcan Tucker, while Curran needed a super take from Joe Denly to see off Kevin O’Brien.
The duo would be back later to wrap the innings up, but it was Archer’s return that captured the imagination. A rapid spell, littered with zippy bouncers, a clever slower ball and, crucially, a memorable wicket.
The target would not have shaken the away dressing room but without the chutzpah of rested openers Jason Roy and Bairstow, they started sedately.
England should have been able to absorb the loss of James Vince, brilliantly caught by George Dockrell off newcomer Josh Little, but relied on one of their two most established hands, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan, to do the job. Instead the pair lasted just nine balls between them.
Root was pinned lbw in trademark fashion by Tim Murtagh, relentlessly accurate and searching for minor misjudgements, before Morgan bagged a three-ball duck. Little, the teenage left-armer, did brilliantly this time, digging one in short and brushing the glove as England’s Dublin-born captain found himself cramped for room.
The moment visibly energised the men in green, whose surge continued when Dawid Malan (24) became Little’s third victim. Struggling with a muscular injury and dropped once already he nibbled outside off stump and was held one-handed by keeper Gary Wilson.
Denly, earning a first one-day cap in a decade, managed a fleeting appearance before recreating Vince’s demise. There was another short ball, another full-blooded pull and another smart catch, with Boyd Rankin and O’Brien the winning combination on this occasion.
Foakes was at the crease by now and he would ultimately ride the tension to see England home.
There were scares along the way, notably when Ireland declined to review an lbw decision against him on 37. Had they done so, Murtagh would have been celebrating again.
After David Willey added 20, Curran (47 not out) joined Surrey team-mate Foakes and the pair chiselled away 98 runs between them, turning a nervy day into a safe result.