England v Australia, Group A, Edgbaston June 7, 2017

Buttler braced to ramp up pressure on Australia


Jos Buttler ramped an extraordinary six en route to a quickfire fifty © Getty Images

It won't rank up there with the most cutting of barbs between Ashes rivals, but Jos Buttler admitted it would be "nice" to knock Australia out of the Champions Trophy when the sides meet at Edgbaston on Saturday.

England go into the match knowing they are secure in the semi-finals and inked in for a return to Cardiff where they toppled New Zealand. For Australia, their concerns are more immediate.

There are scenarios involving a washout between New Zealand and Bangladesh and net run-rate where Australia, by the skin of their teeth, could go through even if they lose to England. But the only way to be sure is to win. If there is a positive result on Friday, for a few hours at least, England will have large swathes of either New Zealand or Bangladesh supporters in their corner.

The Ashes are still five months away, but an early shot across the bows would leave England feeling even better about themselves, not to mention removing one of the pre-tournament favourites. And if history is any guide, it favours them. In both the 2004 and 2013 tournaments they toppled Australia at Edgbaston.

The 2004 semi-final was a crucial building-block for a side that was beginning to believe they would be able to go toe-to-toe the following summer - in what became the era-defining 2005 Ashes - while, in 2013, the victory set in motion an unravelling of Australia's fortunes, with David Warner later taking a swing at Joe Root in the Birmingham Walkabout, and Mickey Arthur being sacked a few weeks later before the Ashes had even begun.

Asked about the prospect of ending Australia's tournament, Buttler said: "Yes, it would be nice. We will not think too much about that. We want to win, keep our momentum going no matter who we are playing, but it is always nice to know that would be the outcome if we did win.

"We now know we have qualified for the semi-finals but we want to be going there on the back of a win and we will be desperate to do that on Saturday. We have got some good memories of playing there. It is a ground we like playing at, which is one of the advantages of being at one, isn't it?"

On a personal level, Buttler will enter the match on the back of his most significant innings of the year. His unbeaten 61 off 48 balls ensured England, as is almost the norm now, passed 300 having threatened to fade away as New Zealand made regular inroads.

The highlight of the innings was the wind-assisted scoop off Trent Boult which almost took out a cameraman on the gantry at the River Taff end but, until that shot, it had been a restrained display of around a run a ball. At one stage he had 38 off 36 deliveries, then his final 12 balls - which included the scoop - earned 23, and it could have been more if he had been able to make better use of the final over.

It was Buttler's second half-century in three innings, following his 65 not out against South Africa at the Ageas Bowl, and has quickly quietened any whispers about his form following lean series against India and West Indies in which he mustered 80 in six innings.

"I think maybe in the India and West Indies series I was short of runs. Going away to the IPL, I felt in fantastic form and then, since I have been back, I have scored a couple of fifties in three or four games and now I feel in good form," he said.

"The wicket was slow with such a big boundary, I was trying to run twos as much as possible and I did not find the boundary as much as I am used to. We couldn't quite throw caution to the wind because we kept losing wickets, so I had to take that responsibility to bat until the end to ensure we got up to 300."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TheCowCorner on June 9, 2017, 0:37 GMT

    Jos is enough to rip through Oz attack, Eng should rest their top 5

  • cricfan86978492 on June 8, 2017, 10:41 GMT

    @SUNNYSIGARA buttler will decimate starc and co.remember. my words.this is not TEST cricket.

  • cricfan86978492 on June 8, 2017, 10:35 GMT

    @SUNNYSIGARA chill up dude.even new zealand batsmen scored runs for fun against this bowling lineup.this bowling unit is super strong in TEST cause they are strong in wickets which have bounce....this is ODI mate.u can score runs for fun cause there won't be much for the bowlers in the pitch.don't get surprised england score 400 runs on board.i predict cummins will score over 100 by ball.

  • sunnysigara on June 8, 2017, 8:31 GMT

    Eng batsmen will score against Cummins and Stark? How? In your dream....Aus is just too strong and will trash Eng for good.

  • Connor Harris on June 8, 2017, 4:16 GMT

    Aussies will start off as clear favourites with its far superior bowling attack and is far better on paper than England. However, England's batting lineup somehow manages to score monster totals and bat the opposition out of the game, even though their batsmen are mediocre apart from Root, Hales and to some extent Morgan.

  • cricfan1526790275 on June 8, 2017, 3:27 GMT

    Very big match, both sides will be pumped up, Aus will have to be very pumped up especially there bowlers, they got to get early breakthru's in this match, batting has 2 step up aswell (Finch in particular) Aus middle order will be tested as they haven't even had a bat in this tournament yet. Pressure on them.

  • Nampally on June 8, 2017, 0:02 GMT

    It is a "Must win" match for the Aussies. They have been unlucky with weather vs. BD. If NZ win vs. BD, & Aussie lose to England, then it is England & NZ from Group A to advance. If Aussies & NZ both win, then it will be the run rate that decides the issue. Hopefully Rain won't decide the issue for both these matches. On paper NZ win vs. BD is most likely result. While England vs. Aus. will be anybody's game. Aussie have some powerful hitters in Warner & Maxwell. They also have good pace attack. So it will be an interesting ding dong battle.

  • LoungeChairCritic on June 7, 2017, 23:47 GMT

    Thankfully the weather forecast for Saturday is good. Rain has impacted both of Australia's games plus our warm up game against Pakistan. Thankfully most of our batsman have been playing IPL. With Zampa in for Hastings, I think Australia is more of a balanced team now. Egbaston has proven to be a bit flat. If Australia win's the toss on Saturday I would bat second and chase. England's strength is their batting. Root, Morgan, Stokes and Ali have always played well against Australia. With Woakes not in their team, I think their bowling unit is not as experienced as it has been in the past. Rashid has to play v Australia. Although it won't happen, a lot of Australian's would love to see Chris Lynn announce himself on the world stage. If I was the Australian selectors, I would drop Finch and have Lynn bat with Warner at the top of the order. It should be a good game. England on home territory would be slight favourites.

  • AhmedEsat on June 7, 2017, 22:51 GMT

    Should be a good match rain permitting. Australia's inexperienced top order batting will even things up. Will we see the famous English flop under pressure?

  • nursery_ender on June 7, 2017, 21:40 GMT

    ELECTRIC_LOCO_WAP4'S_SECOND_FATHER ON JUNE 7, 2017, 17:35 GMT aus is no match to England's firepower. only way by which aus can progress to knockout stage is washout. then they'll create another unique record of going to next round without actually winning. --------------------------------------------------------------------

    The weather forecast for Saturday in Birmingham looks pretty awful right now but Friday in Cardiff looks OK. If both are accurate it looks like a washout for Australia but a positive result from NZ v Bangladesh (barring a tie). Which would put Australia out.

  • No featured comments at the moment.