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England’s World Cup defence starts with a damp squib

Mark Wood

This was not the start England or the World Cup needed. A wash-out confirmed fears that the wet, humid month of June could wreak havoc with the competition and Jos Buttler’s hopes of immediately putting behind him the last miserable World Cup campaign were thwarted.

In the 10 overs possible between the lengthy rain delays, England were sloppy with misfields, took a wicket off a no-ball and produced some iffy bowling that left Scotland believing they could toast a famous win when they set a DLS adjusted target of 109 in 10 overs.

A final heavy rainburst resulted in points shared before England started their run chase and left everyone frustrated on a day when the skies looked like Leeds in early summer, not the beach weather of holiday brochures. As it pelted down the all inclusive £100 tickets in the party stand (rum included) did not look such a good buy – it has no roof.

Now England’s match against Australia on Saturday takes on extra importance and net run rate may also have a decisive say in who reaches the Super Eights stage with the rain only likely to worsen as the month goes on. June has double the amount of rainfall as May and hurricane season started on the first day of the month. The tournament is being played now because the IPL and other franchise leagues squeeze the life out of the calendar and force organisers to play roulette with the weather. There will be a lot of crossing of fingers.

On come the covers again
A third storm ended the match - AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan

Rain has dogged England with three of their last five T20s washed out and they did look rusty. Buttler was grumpy before the game, irked by questions about India and insisted on looking forward. The weather has made it hard for everyone to move on and slightly ratchets up the pressure. “We have waited a long time to be able to put our best foot forward in this competition but we didn’t get that opportunity. It is really unfortunate,” said Matthew Mott, the coach.

It is worrying England failed to take a Scotland wicket and their total of 90 for nought was a strong effort with George Munsey muscling 41 off 31 and Michael Jones 45 off 30, using his familiarity with England’s bowlers from playing for Durham to his advantage, hitting Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid for sixes.

It is too far to suggest England were lucky it rained because their power hitters may have chased the score down with ease, but a defeat would have been a very hard blow after all that happened in India. Instead they start again on Saturday against Australia, probably not the ideal opponent in this situation.

George Munsey of Scotland bats
George Munsey switch hits Adil Rashid for six - Matthew Lewis/ICC via Getty Images

The good thing for England was the combination of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. They will blow teams away in the powerplay and even though they were wicketless this time, both are fully fit and primed to go. Archer recovered from a poor first over when he was too short and wide, finding his range in his second mixing up slower balls, cutters and finishing with a nasty bouncer that clocked Michael Jones on the glove as he tried to hook. He looks sharp.

Wood reached 94mph and was tidy with it, not spraying it around. His only error was overstepping when Munsey top-edged a catch to Buttler. As the air raid siren rang out signifying the no ball, England shoulders drooped. There was a creeping sense this might not be their day. Wood recovered by bowling a dot ball on the free hit and only 11 runs off two overs was decent work.

Two misfields in the powerplay were careless and Jordan bowled a poor first over, conceding 15, as he fell into the hitting arc of Munsey, who deposited one ball into the solar panels on top of the roof of the Greenidge & Haynes Stand; not that the solar panels were doing much work.

“We were a little bit sloppy on the field a couple of times, there were some nerves at the start of the tournament and those are things we want to improve,” admitted Mott.

The match started 55 minutes late due to rain and a wet patch on a length that had to be dried with a leaf blower. A further two hour delay after 6.2 overs of the Scottish innings forced a cut to a 10-overs-a-side shootout which always shortens the odds for the associate nations.

Scotland were 50-0 when it rained and had no choice but to go after every delivery on the restart, knowing that whatever score they made would be lifted by the DLS calculations. Because of the over reduction, bowlers could only send down a maximum of two. Wood and Archer had already bowled theirs leaving Buttler relying on spin.

Munsey was superb reverse hitting Rashid for two sixes in an 18 run over but England’s leggie is clever, dragged back his length in his final over which cost only eight. Still, Scotland added 39-0 at 10 per over in their final thrash, good work and no wonder they were feeling confident.

“We had a really good chance of winning this game regardless of superstar talent in their side. It is pretty annoying,” said Jones.

The result continued an odd statistic: England have never beaten a European side in a World T20. They lost to Ireland at the last World Cup and the Netherlands have beaten them twice. Scotland believe they were robbed of the chance to make it another defeat. Now that really would have been problematic for an England team looking to reboot.


England vs Scotland: as it didn’t happen


07:48 PM BST

Match abandoned

Each side takes a point for the no result


07:45 PM BST

Who will be suffering the greater disappointment?

It is raining heavily now. This feels terminal. Hard to say if England dodged a bullet or not. A target of 109 would have been difficult but they have plenty of power and could have done it. Scotland will be very disappointed. They fancied their chances and did their bit making the most of the overs on offer when they batted. Big game for England against Australia on Saturday and net run rate might have a major say in this group.


07:41 PM BST

There’s no way they’re coming back on

It’s siling it down and there are puddles on the outfield.

Remember 2010? England squeaked through the three-team group on net run rate after a N/R and a defeat then went on to win five in a row to win their first global tournament…


07:37 PM BST

Tricky prospect… should they get back on

It’s going to be difficult for new batsmen to adjust to this pitch isn’t it? The key must be whether Scotland can take wickets and bring those new batsmen in. Therein lies England embarrassment, if it doesn’t rain...


07:34 PM BST

England need to be back on in 24 minutes to make a game of it

But that prospect looks unlikely. The dreaded N/R seems nailed on.


07:33 PM BST

It’s raining quite heavily now and very dark above, sadly

Raining again. I think we will have a no-result here. Scotland made 90-0, a very good effort and this has been scrappy from England. Target will be 109 if we get back on.


07:30 PM BST

Can England chase it down?

So England require 109 from their 10 overs to win this game. I will now hand you over to the capable hands of Rob Bagchi to take you through England’s reply. Enjoy what should be an exciting run-chase!


07:28 PM BST

Brilliant batting by Scotland

The opening pair for Scotland remained unbeaten throughout those 10 overs, with Munsey finishing on 41 not out and Jones on 45 not out.


07:27 PM BST

Scotland finish on 90/0

The rain is falling again as the clouds have rolled in. The groundstaff are ready with the covers but we will bowl the final over.

Rashid’s final over is superb, especially when you also factor in the rain that is falling making it tougher to grip. But a great final over is ruined as the last ball is swept away by Jones for four.

Scotland finish on 90/0 which, adjusted by DLS, means England will be chasing 109 to win in 10 overs.


07:23 PM BST

Not out

Jones’ bat got stuck in the ground but his foot got down just in time before Archer’s throw struck the stumps. Rashid will bowl the final over.


07:22 PM BST

OVER 9: SCO 81/0 (Munsey 38 Jones 39)

Jordan, whose first over was costly, will bowl the penultimate over. He strays on the legs of Munsey, who picks up the slower ball and flicks behind square on the leg-side for six. The rest of the over from Jordan is tight and England think they have a run-out off the final ball of the ninth...


07:17 PM BST

OVER 8: SCO 72/0 (Munsey 30 Jones 39)

Munsey goes for the switch-hit and it is a poor full toss from Rashid, which Munsey sends to the boundary for four.

Munsey follows that up with another switch-hit, which goes all the way for six. Rashid and England under huge pressure here. 18 from the over in total.


07:15 PM BST

Not out

Munsey did not hit it and so they do check for LBW but he is still not out as it pitched outside leg.


07:14 PM BST

England review

After being hit first ball for six by Jones, Rashid thinks he has Munsey caught behind a few balls later. England have reviewed...


07:11 PM BST

OVER 7: SCO 54/0 (Munsey 19 Jones 32)

Moeen has to bowl as he was midway through an over when we went off.

Off the penultimate ball Munsey attempts a sweep and gets a top edge, but it lands safely for a single. Just three runs come off the four balls after he restart.


07:07 PM BST

Here we go

Finally, after over two hours off the field, we are ready to get this game back under way.


07:06 PM BST

Ready to restart

The players are ready to get back under way in Barbados. Scotland have 22 balls left in their innings and then England will have ten overs in their innings.


06:58 PM BST

Spin for majority of remaining balls

With Archer and Wood bowled out, Rashid and Moeen will bowl the majority of the remaining deliveries. If there is still dampness in the outfield, it will make it more challenging for the spinners to grip the ball.


06:55 PM BST

Rashid key

Bad news for England is that Mark Wood and Jofra Archer cannot bowl again. They bowled two overs each before the rain break and over reduction. Now it is a ten over game, bowlers can only bowl a maximum of two overs. Jordan has one left, Moeen will finish his current over and the two from Rashid could be match defining.


06:54 PM BST

Restart

As it is now 10 overs per side, Scotland will have 22 balls remaining in their innings.


06:52 PM BST

Good news!

We have a start time: 2.10pm here, 7.10pm in the UK. It is now a 10 overs per side match.


06:43 PM BST

Chances of play?

I have just heard from Nick from the ground and it has stopped raining. The clear-up has begun but it is still very cloudy. Nick believes one more shower would certainly end any hopes of getting back on.


06:41 PM BST

Interval in Texas

We are at the halfway stage in the game in Texas where the Netherlands have bowled Nepal out for 106 in the final over of their innings.


06:37 PM BST

Inspection incoming

We have a positive update to bring you. There is set to be an inspection in 15 minutes at 18:50 BST (13:50 local time).


06:23 PM BST

Cut-off time

The chances of getting back are not looking particularly great but we now have official confirmation on when we have to be back on by. The official cut-off for a five-over run chase would be 19:52 BST (14:52 local time).


06:20 PM BST

Texas update

Nepal’s day is not getting any better as they are now 84/6 with four overs remaining against the Netherlands.


06:04 PM BST

Chances of play?

So it will be 66 in five overs for England or 77 in six. That wicket off the no ball by Mark Wood made life harder. Scotland didn’t lose a wicket which helps them with DLS and makes England’s task a little trickier. It could all be irrelevant. We may not get back on here. It has stopped raining but heavy clouds all around.


06:04 PM BST

Rain, rain, go away

The covers on at the Kensington Oval
Will we see any more cricket today? - Randy Brooks/Getty Images
A few spectators remain in the stands despite the rain
A few hardy fans braving the weather - Ricardo Mazalan/AP

05:57 PM BST

Bringing the bad weather along

Is it not just so predictable that England and Scotland are playing and the weather is dreadful? This game is not being played in the UK in early April, this is Barbados!


05:55 PM BST

Update from Texas

They are at the halfway stage in the first innings in Texas where Nepal are in some trouble on 53/4. The Netherlands currently on top at the moment.


05:53 PM BST

Anyone fancy the shortest of games?

If it is just a five-over game, believe England would be chasing 66 thanks to DLS...


05:50 PM BST

Jones hits the roof


05:47 PM BST

Oh my word!

This looks more like a County Championship game in early April rather than Barbados:

The rain falling in Bridgetown, Barbados
It does not look great for more cricket today - Ricardo Mazalan/AP

05:45 PM BST

If we get back on..

The latest weather update from Nick was not a positive one and, despite their strong start, it does make Scotland’s decision to bat first more strange. Knowing there was a threat of rain and the possibility of a reduced game, surely you would bowl first if you won the toss?


05:43 PM BST

England’s remaining games

Here are England’s three remaining fixtures in the group stages:

Saturday 8th June: Australia vs England in Bridgetown (18:00 BST)

Thursday 13th June: England vs Oman in North Sound (20:00 BST)

Saturday 15th June: Namibia vs England in North Sound (18:00 BST)


05:39 PM BST

Yes, it is


05:37 PM BST

Does not sound good

This is not the update we wanted to hear from the ground:

It is absolutely hosing it down now. This game might be over.  If this is a no result and England lose to Australia on Saturday, things could get interesting.


05:35 PM BST

Losing overs

We are about to enter into the territory of losing overs as we have nearly gone past the 90-minute mark of delays.


05:29 PM BST

Action in Dallas

There is play in Dallas where the Netherlands are taking on Nepal. It has been a great start for the Netherlands, who have taken two early wickets with Nepal 29/2 in the sixth over.


05:26 PM BST

Legend in the house

Sir Garfield Sobers is in the house, sat on his wicker chair at the top of the 3Ws stand like a monarch looking down from his throne. One of my first Telegraph tasks was to track down Sobers and ask him for a comment about Brian Lara. Eventually I found him but when he discovered I worked for the Telegraph I was given short shrift. Turned out years earlier the brilliant Martin Johnson (older readers will remember his, ahem, acerbic style) had written up an interview with Sobers he didn’t like. Sobers is notoriously prickly, which played into Johnno’s hands. He wrote:

“He does not much care to talk about cricket, which never made him a rich man and which he now feels exploits him. He arrived breathless for his round, cursing fluently about being delayed by an avalanche of invitations to sign this, autograph that.” Sobers said to Martin: “If I had my time over again, I would never have played cricket. Why? Because of people like you. The press do nothing but criticise.” I won’t be hiking my way up to the 3Ws to ask him for a comment.


05:17 PM BST

Covers coming back on

You can scrap those plans of a restart at 17:20 BST as the covers are coming back on.


05:11 PM BST

Restart in 10 minutes

We should get back under way at 17:20 BST (12:20 local time), providing there is no more rain. We still have not lost any overs.

After that 23 minute delay we have around another 10 minutes to play with before this match will start to be reduced in overs. There is a 90 minute leeway before it kicks in. More showers are likely. This is shaping up to be a tricky one for England.


05:08 PM BST

Covers off

The positive news is that the covers have been removed, so you would hope that we will be back under way in the near future. That delay has probably helped out England as it might stunt Scotland’s progress.


04:56 PM BST

Rain stopped play

Scotland bring up the 50 partnership but we are going off as a heavy shower is passing over the ground.

Ground staff were twitching for about ten minutes and sure enough here comes another downpour and off they go. The clouds have filled in a bit more. It might be a longer stoppage this time. Looks like they are pulling on an extra layer of tarpaulin after the fiasco earlier when a patch was left uncovered.

The groundstaff bringing on the covers
More delays in Barbados - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

04:54 PM BST

OVER 6: SCO 49/0 (Munsey 17 Jones 29)

One Barbados native is replaced by another as Jordan comes on for Archer. Jones picks up Jordan over the leg-side and deposits him onto the roof for six. It has damaged a solar panel on the roof.

Next ball Jordan is too wide and Jones punishes him through the covers for four. This is terrible bowling from Jordan, who drops too short and Jones pulls him away through wide mid-on for four more.

That is the end of the powerplay and it has been a brilliant start for Scotland.

Ireland were 59-1 after the Powerplay when they beat England in Melbourne in the last T20 World Cup; Scotland 49-0 after the Powerplay and trying to follow a similar template. There was rain around that day, too.

Michael Jones plays a shot through the offside
Scotland off to a strong start - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

04:49 PM BST

OVER 5: SCO 34/0 (Munsey 17 Jones 14)

Wood is back on and England think they have their first wicket as Munsey is caught by Buttler after skying the ball but he is called back after that Wood delivery is called a no-ball. It was a big no-ball as well. Only six runs come from that over.

That Wood no-ball rather encapsulates a sloppy start for England. They have bowled ok, but two misfields, and now Wood’s overstepped. Another interesting ptch in the offing; Scotland will be glad to have three spinners...


04:42 PM BST

OVER 4: SCO 28/0 (Munsey 14 Jones 13)

A much tighter over from England with Archer’s second over going for just two runs.

So much for the “slugfest” predictions from England. This is an up and down, slow pitch in Barbados and we saw in New York yesterday another tricky surface. Pace off, cutters and bowling at the stumps is the way forward here and the fireworks of the IPL will not be happening at the Kensington Oval. Suits England though: Archer, Jordan and Wood are good at variations. Good second over from Archer.

Jofra Archer bowling during England's game against Scotland
Jofra Archer in action on his home island - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

04:38 PM BST

OVER 3: SCO 26/0 (Munsey 13 Jones 12)

Captain Buttler makes an early change with Moeen brought into the attack. Off his second ball Munsey shifts across his stumps and sweeps past Rashid at short fine-leg for four.

Moeen then gets turn and bounce and takes the outside edge, but there is no slip in place to take advantage.

Later in the over Munsey repeats his sweep from earlier in the over, with a bit more force and it runs away for four more. This has been a positive start for Scotland.

George Munsey sweeps the ball
Scotland make a positive start - Ricardo Mazalan/AP

04:34 PM BST

OVER 2: SCO 16/0 (Munsey 4 Jones 11)

Archer will bowl from the other end so the double speedsters are opening up for England. A special moment for Archer on his home island.

Jones punches a ball off the back foot through the offside which Livingstone should stop but he lets it through and Scotland come back for two. Archer bowls the same ball again and Jones once again punches it through the offside past Livingstone for another couple. Another loose ball outside off from Archer and Jones punishes him with an emphatic punch for four. All three balls almost identical.

Off the final ball Jones gets a massive top edge as he attempts to pull Archer away. It loops a long way into the air but it falls safely behind Buttler. Wood cannot get close to catching it and Scotland come through for a couple. There is some drizzle in the air now unfortunately.


04:29 PM BST

OVER 1: SCO 6/0 (Munsey 4 Jones 1)

Wood’s first ball is a fast, inswinging yorker that Munsey just about keeps out. Scotland’s first run is a leg bye to short fine-leg.

Jones, against his county mate, gets off the mark first ball with a push to mid-on for one.

Munsey then just about lifts it over Jordan at mid-on for the first boundary of the game. Six runs from the first over of the match.


04:23 PM BST

Here we go

England’s defence of their T20 crown begins now. Scotland have George Munsey and Durham’s Michael Jones out to open the batting. Jones’ county teammate, Mark Wood, will open the bowling.

The T20 World Cup trophy
England are aiming to defend their T20 crown - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

04:17 PM BST

Anthem time

Finally we are going to have some cricket as both teams are on their way out for the national anthems.


04:12 PM BST

16:25 start

Fortunately it looks like we will not have to wait too much longer for action as the start is now pegged for 16:25 BST (11:25 local time). We still have not lost any overs.


03:59 PM BST

Pitch inspection

That damp spot is causing the umpires great concern so we will have an inspection at 16:15 BST (11:15 local time). Dare I say it, this should not really be happening at a World Cup.

A damp spot on the pitch is investigated
Further delays due to a damp spot - Gareth Copley/Getty Images

03:57 PM BST

60 years on

A delay because of a wet, uncovered pitch, exactly 60 years on from Geoffrey Boycott’s debut?


03:56 PM BST

Wet spot

Start delayed further by a “wet spot” on the pitch, in other words a gap in the covers let the water in. It is not a great start. The sun is shining though so it should dry up quickly. In other news, the ICC killjoys have not closed down the little fruit shop under the Greenidge & Haynes Stand. I suspected they would be shuttered up for not selling ICC sponsor branded bananas but just bought a bunch for $3.

Call for Sir Geoffrey. This could be the closest modern players ever get to an uncovered pitch, the damp patch is right on a length for Jofra Archer. Can understand why Scotland are looking at it nervously.


03:55 PM BST

Further delay?

Just as we thought the players were going to be heading out for the national anthems, we could have another delay as some water has seemingly got through the covers and there is a damp spot on a good length. Yet more frustration.

A damp spot on the pitch in Barbados
The start has been delayed further but a wet patch on the wicket - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

03:50 PM BST

The thoughts of Scotland opener George Munsey

The preparation has been good, thankfully we’ve managed to dodge some of the rain so we could get some sessions done. The guys are all ready, the ground looks great and we’re ready to get going today.

We did look at that game here but also recognising that was under lights, this game’s in the morning, so not reading too much into it and making sure we’re adapting to the conditions.

We’ve got a well-balanced side and we’ll be backing our team no matter what the conditions are. These occasions are huge for us, a chance to take on the big boys, and it’s something we’re very excited about.


03:48 PM BST

Teams

Scotland: Munsey, Jones, McMullen, Berrington, Cross, Leask, Greaves, Watt, Sole, Wheal, Currie.

England: Salt, Buttler, Jacks, Bairstow, Brook, Moeen, Livingstone, Jordan, Archer, Rashid, Wood.


03:46 PM BST

The thoughts of Will Jacks

I’m loving it so far and can’t wait to get started. It was a low-scoring thriller in the first game here so it does look quite slow. We’ll assess conditions but we played here in December against West Indies so we know the ground pretty well.

If the pitches are slower then it could be the best time to bat against the new ball so we’ll have to see how it goes.

It’s great to have Jofra’s [Archer] x-factor back, he’s got what everyone wants in their team and hopefully we can get the best out of him and he’ll have a great tournament.


03:43 PM BST

Elsewhere today

We have another game that will begin in the next hour. The Netherlands are taking on Nepal in Texas at 16:30 BST.


03:40 PM BST

New start time

We have news of when we will be getting going. Provided there is no more rain, the game will begin at 16:00 BST (11:00 local time). We have lost no overs so it remains a 20-over-per-side game.

The big screen shows the new start time
We have a 30-minute delay to proceedings - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

03:36 PM BST

Rain has stopped

Good news! The rain has stopped and the sun is now out in Bridgetown. Hopefully the covers will be off quickly and we will get going very soon.


03:31 PM BST

Delayed start

We have reached 15:30 BST (10:30 local time) and, due to the rain, we have not started. The umpires are yet to declare when we will get under way but hopefully it will not be too long a delay.


03:25 PM BST

Rain

There was some rain forecast in Barbados today and we are getting some now. It feels like it should blow through fairly promptly but we may have to remain a little patient. It looks likely that we will have a delayed start and England’s quest to defend their crown will not begin on time. England and Scotland are thousands of miles away from home yet it is raining. You could not write it, could you?

The groundstaff in Barbados put the covers on
We are in for a short delay to proceedings due to rain - Gareth Copley/Getty Images

03:19 PM BST

Jos Buttler speaking at the toss

Great ground, great country to be hosting the WC, so everyone’s really excited to get going. Brilliant, we’re delighted to have [Jofra Archer] back among the ranks. He’s started well and we’ve got high hopes for him.

We’ve gone for Wood and Jordan today, a really tough call but we’ve gone with the extra pace of Wood.

England captain Jos Buttler at the toss
England happy to bowl first in Barbados - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

03:18 PM BST

Scotland captain Richie Berrington at the toss

The wicket looks on the drier side, but as we’ve seen during the tournament so far, the wickets can change so it’s going to be important for us to adapt to the situation and hopefully we can get a good score on the board.

We had an eye on the one game that was here just to see what conditions are like but this is a different time of day, so it didn’t influence our selection too much.

A lot of this group has played in World Cups now, we’re really excited. These opportunities don’t come around too often so we can’t wait to get our competition started.

We’re going to take it game by game, we know it’ll be a challenge but obviously we want to go as far as we can. We have special memories from that game [beating England in the ODI format] and a lot of our players here today were involved then.


03:18 PM BST

England delighted with Scotland’s choice at the toss?

England very happy to chase today. They would have bowled had they won the toss so Buttler pleased to hear Scotland decide to bat first. England believe they can control the DLS factor if they chase and there are showers forecast, the covers have just been pulled on and it is raining. A few England fans have taken advantage of the Party Stand offer of $150 (US dollars) which includes as much rum as you can put away but no roof. They might need the rum if it really hoses it down.


03:17 PM BST

Drizzle in Barbados

We are around a quarter of an hour away from the start but the groundstaff are bringing some covers on as a shower has hit the Kensington Oval.


03:16 PM BST

Scotland wrong to bat first?

Bit of a surprise that Scotland are batting first, with the 10:30am start. I suspect that their thinking is that the pitch, which has already been used once, is going to get worse: Oman and Namibia made 109 apiece, before Namibia’s Super Over victory. Scotland’s top three, led by the dashing opener George Munsey and Durham’s Michael Jones, hold out their best hopes of getting them to a score of 150 or so. England have decided that pace is the best way to combat them, picking Mark Wood alongside Jofra Archer.


03:14 PM BST

How our team are getting around in Barbados

Always keen to save the head of sport a few quid, this week Telegraph Sport hired a Mini Moke, a common sight on Barbados. It is basically a car with no doors, so plenty of natural air conditioning. The only issue is that normally England are here in the drier months between October and April. Turns out a doorless car is of less use in June when it belts it down about three times a day for ten minutes each time and you need to drive with an umbrella. The water pools on the fabric roof and whenever you turn left it pours in and the driver gets soaked. turn right it is the passenger’s turn. Now it is clear why the car hire guy said he had plenty of Mokes to hire at this time of year.

The Telegraph's hire car in Barbados
Would you be happy if you received this as your hire car?

03:09 PM BST

Live from Barbados

Hello from the Kensington Oval where England have just held their pre-match huddle and the backroom staff (11 by my reckoning) almost outnumbered the players. Jos Buttler was a bit terse in the pre-match press briefings which shows two things. One, he is under pressure and knows the next few weeks will determine his legacy, and two, he has still not clocked after all these years that he is not actually talking to the journalists in front of him but the public reading, listening or watching him speak. Disdain for journalists is part of the cut and thrust and always will be but to see him rattled by such gentle questioning makes you wonder what will happen behind the scenes if there is a bad run of results. There is so much more scrutiny when playing for England and franchise players who don’t play Test cricket always look a little shocked when confronted by it.


03:06 PM BST

England team news


03:04 PM BST

Scotland win toss

The coin has fallen in favour of Scotland and Richie Berrington has decided to have a bat first.

The toss takes place before England vs Scotland
Scotland win the toss in Barbados - Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

03:01 PM BST

Match preview: Battle of Britain

Jos Buttler has promised his England side will bring “100 per cent intensity” when they kick off their T20 World Cup defence against neighbours Scotland today.

The clash in Barbados will be the first ever 20-over international between the two nations and the first meeting of any kind since 2018, when the Scots sprung a huge ODI upset at The Grange in Edinburgh.

England, nevertheless, go in as heavy favourites in their Group B opener and Buttler wants his players to give everything they have got to get the job done.

There will be more hype in the lead-up to Saturday’s meeting with rivals Australia but, with memories of last year’s troubled 50-over World Cup still fresh in the mind, where they lost six out of nine games, including a shock defeat to Afghanistan, there is no sense of complacency.

“We expect a tough challenge and we’re all excited for that,” Buttler said.

“They’ve come here to try and win games. They want to beat us and we want to beat them, so it’s pretty straightforward.

“There’s a good feeling amongst the team, we’ve had some good performances, but we’re fully focused on this game and we need to make sure we bring 100 per cent intensity to that first of all.

“Every game we have to be right on it. All we are focused on is that Scotland match and that is the biggest and most important thing right now.”

England appear to have the majority of their first-choice XI locked in, with Reece Topley and Mark Wood seemingly vying for the final seam bowling spot after alternating in the recent series against Pakistan.

Topley has been a consistent white-ball performer and offers a point of difference as a tall left-armer, while Wood’s ability to hit speeds of 95mph mark him out as outlier too.

Barring any unexpected surprises they will be lining up alongside Jofra Archer, whose long awaited return to fitness has leant the England attack a fresh edge.

Five years on from his England debut, the Barbados-born quick will finally get the chance to play for them in his hometown.

“Obviously he’s a real cool, calm, collected guy, but I’m sure there’s some emotion around that as well,” said Buttler.

“So it’s about understanding that he might be feeling those things. I’m sure he’ll have a lot of close friends and family here watching and I’m sure he’ll be desperate to perform well in front of them.

“We know what he’s capable of but we just need to allow him to be for a bit and not expect too much.”

England have plenty of local knowledge in their dressing room, with Archer joined by his fellow Bajan Chris Jordan as well as Phil Salt, who spent six years on the island during his childhood.

Their backroom staff has also made room for the hulking figure of Kieron Pollard, the former West Indies international who is on hand as a coaching consultant.

“Some of the guys have played with him or played lots of cricket against him, so he’s fitted in really well,” said Buttler.

“He knows everything about the Caribbean and he’s got that winner’s mindset. I think that’s something that we’re really tapping into. He’s won a lot of competitions around the world and won a couple of T20 World Cups, so it’s great to have guys like that around the group.”

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