England are 'chomping at the bit' after nervy start

Staff WritersAAP
England captain Jos Buttler (centre) celebrates progress with Jofra Archer (L) and Sam Curran. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconEngland captain Jos Buttler (centre) celebrates progress with Jofra Archer (L) and Sam Curran. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AAP

Jos Buttler says his England side are "chomping at the bit" to kickstart their T20 World Cup defence after a nervy wait to secure their place in the last eight.

The reigning champions squeezed through the group stage on net run-rate, edging out Scotland after they fell agonisingly short of shocking Australia, and will now hope to reset after a chaotic time in the Caribbean.

A washout against the Scots, a rapid-fire win over an Oman side that took a grand total of 99 balls and another rain-affected win over Namibia in Antigua on Saturday means England have hardly had time to establish a regular rhythm.

A heavy loss to Australia in their only full game could have dented confidence but their campaign effectively begins anew in the Super 8s, where they will take on co-hosts the West Indies, South Africa and the United States in the space of five breakneck days with a semi-final spot up for grabs.

England had to wait nearly six hours after their own match was finished to discover their fate and it was almost midnight by the time Buttler found out for sure that his side were not heading for an early exit. Now, though, he is ready to look forward not back.

"It was a nervous watch at times," admitted Buttler. "But we are pleased to go through.

"We're looking forward to the Super Eights and getting into the tournament. Thankfully we can now prepare for a big week of crucial matches in St Lucia and Barbados against strong opposition.

"It's going to be a challenge but we've had so many rain-affected games, people are chomping at the bit to play. I think we've reacted really well, I think the team has been in a really good place all tournament so far and I thought, with all the anxieties around, everyone handled it well. Credit to all the guys who stayed really level, there didn't seem to be any panic."

While Buttler made no secret of his own turmoil over the course of the day, which included a three-hour rain delay at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and the very real prospect of an abandonment that would have sent them packing, not everyone in the squad was at their wits end.

Jofra Archer, whose return to fitness has elevated the English attack after a long absence, had a very different response. For Buttler, it was an encouraging sign of a player back at ease on the international stage.

"We were having a good laugh because we were in and out looking at the weather and Jofra was asleep on a bench," he said.

"He didn't look too stressed and I think that tells you where he's at, he's in a really good place. I'm just delighted to see him back in an England shirt playing on the big stage.

"He's certainly exceeded my expectations for where he would be at, even though he was probably expecting that of himself.

"He's been fantastic and is an amazing guy to have in the team to throw the ball to, certainly he wants the big moments, and he performs well in those moments."

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