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'Mature, senior player's innings' - Buttler on Bairstow's knock

The England captain also lauds Adil Rashid, saying he is their "most important player"

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
20-Jun-2024
Jos Buttler has called legspinner Adil Rashid England's "most important player" and also lauded "class player" Jonny Bairstow for playing a "senior player's innings".
England registered a commanding eight-wicket win in their Super Eight match against West Indies at T20 World Cup 2024 in Gros Islet. Set a challenging 181 to win, England got home with Phil Salt finishing unbeaten on 87, with Bairstow in tow with a 26-ball 48 not out. The two added 97 off 44 balls to see England home with eight wickets and 2.3 overs to spare.
"That was a really good performance from us," Buttler said at the post-match presentation. "We planned really well, we've been practising well and executed both with the bat and ball and deserved to win. I thought we bowled really well to restrict such a powerful batting line-up, such great six-hitters especially. [It was a] decent score, and you had to play well to chase it down.
"I thought we were very smart with the bat. Guys were very calculated when they took their options on. The Bairstow and Salt partnership was so good. Jonny came in with great intent and took the momentum straight back. Salty tucked in behind him for a bit and when he got that one big over, he broke the back of it.
"A lot of people say you learn when you lose, but I truly believe you learn when you win as well. [It is] important to reflect on what we did well today. We had a good performance, put that to bed and focus on the next performance."
Talking about Bairstow, Buttler said: "He is a class player, he has been for a really long time. That's what we decided to do, you just keep backing class players. He hasn't had many opportunities but today was an incredibly impressive innings. A really mature, senior player's innings. With a lot of power, he scored at a great gear when the game was just in the balance."
Earlier, riding on a fluent start from Brandon King, who retired hurt with a side strain, Johnson Charles and Nicholas Pooran had helped West Indies race to 72 for 0 in eight overs. But the next five overs - bowled by Rashid and Moeen Ali in tandem - saw them score just 34 for the wicket of Charles. Rashid bowled the 17th over too, for just two runs and the wicket of Andre Russell to finish with figures of 4-0-21-1.
"We keep saying [Rashid] is our most important player, he really has been for a long time," Buttler said. "He's got so much variation and so much threat of taking wickets and also restricting runs."

Powell: We strayed away from our plans to Salt

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Rovman Powell felt they were 15 to 20 runs short and strayed away from their plans against Salt.
"We left 15-20 runs out there as a batting group," Powell said. "I will say that we should have put up a better display as a bowling group. We are normally very good in the last five overs, but credit has to be given to the England bowling unit. They had clear plans, and the execution was good."
After their under-par finish with the bat, they offered lives to Salt and Moeen, with wicketkeeper Pooran unable to hold on to thin deflections on both occasions.
"Those chances are always difficult," Powell said. "But credit has to be given to Phil, he seems to like playing against West Indies. Every time he plays against West Indies, he always hurts us. We strayed away a little bit from our plans to Phil. It's just for us to look back at those plans and re-evaluate.
"Our destiny is in our hands. Once we win well, it will bring us back. We are playing good cricket."

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7