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Jordan: 'I try to judge myself on execution, whether I go for a boundary or take a wicket'

The England allrounder on all things death bowling, including the closing overs of the 2016 final

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
When his wide yorker squeezed underneath Marlon Samuels' bat to leave West Indies needing 19 runs from the last over of the 2016 final, Chris Jordan appeared almost certain to have won England the World T20 - and he knew it. His final over, the 19th, had cost only eight runs and that crucial dot ball left Samuels, unbeaten on 85, stranded at the non-striker's end at the start of the 20th.
Minutes later, Jordan was crouched alongside Ben Stokes after Carlos Brathwaite's fourth six in as many balls had sealed the title for West Indies. England had rushed through the final over, with Stokes racing back to the top of his mark and hardly exchanging a word with Eoin Morgan, his captain, as balls were retrieved from the stands at Eden Gardens.
Jordan, now a senior player in England's T20I set-up and their all-time leading wicket-taker in the format, reflects five years on that they were caught up in the moment of the big occasion. Speaking from the team's training base in Muscat after travelling from the UAE to Oman following Punjab Kings' elimination from the IPL, Jordan said England had learned how to slow games down in the intervening years and that they would be better placed to deal with a similar situation in the upcoming World Cup.
"We tend to have a laugh about [the 19th over]," Jordan said. "I bowled that over under what was quite immense pressure. When I bowled a dot ball on that final ball, it definitely did feel a lot closer than it ended up. Again, that's part of the learning, part of having that experience because having that feeling after that ball is something I'll never take myself to that place ever again.
"We definitely came out stronger for it as a unit and a team and I definitely won't be thinking that way after bowling the 19th over until it is fully, fully over. One of the things that sticks out to me is, in a sense, how quickly that last over went. That's part of sport, that's part of life - someone has to come up victorious. For something like that to be done in the last over, you can't really write that. That was some unbelievable hitting from Carlos Brathwaite that last time.
"A few games after that, when we did get in those situations a lot more, we just started to slow the game down a bit more just so that decision-making was much clearer. You saw that going into the 2019 World Cup: the team was on autopilot really. In any situation, you just saw the game started to slow down a little bit, and everyone came up with an informed and correct decision."
England have struggled for control in the death overs in recent bilateral series, most notably in Ahmedabad against India earlier this year when they leaked 11.55 runs per over at the death across the series. Jordan himself was particularly culpable, conceding 107 runs from the 47 balls he bowled at the death, but as a trusted lieutenant of Morgan and one of England's most experienced players, he is likely to be back as a 'closer' throughout the World Cup - possibly alongside the recalled Tymal Mills, his Sussex and Southern Brave team-mate.
"Death bowling is a big, big part of short-format cricket," he said. "Most T20 games, more often than not, come down to the last couple of overs. If we can hold our nerve and be nice and calm in those situations, assess the pitch, assess conditions, assess everything, and make nice clear and decent decisions, I think we should go alright.
"The squad is very, very strong. I'm pretty optimistic. I think the guys having come together this week and training the last couple of days, the focus is really, really clear. We've been playing together for quite some time now so we know each other's games pretty well. We've played in a few high-pressure, big games in front of crowds, so from that point of view I think everyone is nice and calm.
"I'm realistic as well. The T20 format is one where you can bowl okay and get hit for a six and bowl not particularly well and take a wicket. Where's the logic in that? I try to judge myself on execution, whether I go for a boundary or take a wicket. That's my mindset and I just want to continue that. [Bowling at the death] is a role I relish and, if called upon, I'll be more than happy to do it."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98