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England send warning shot ahead of T20 World Cup – their swagger is back

Jonny Bairstow bats during the fourth IT20 match at The Kia Oval
Bairstow put the finishing touches to England's run chase - PA/Adam Davy

No rain, no problem. Free from the showers that have marred the series - which still made a brief unwelcome appearance once again in south London - England waltzed to a seven-wicket victory over Pakistan, sealing the series 2-0.

Victory, of course, was welcome. Altogether more welcome, ahead of the flight to Barbados on Friday, was the indication that England have regained a little of their swagger before the Twenty20 World Cup. As Jofra Archer and Mark Wood topped 90mph, Adil Rashid bowled a wonderful spell of leg spin and Jos Buttler and Phil Salt slammed 78 in the first six overs, England looked like what they are: the defending champions.

It is a fact that has easily been forgotten during a grim six months for England white-ball cricket: the dire ODI World Cup campaign, and then twin defeats in West Indies before Christmas. But, for all the frustrations caused by the disruption to this series, England return to the Caribbean believing that they can retain their crown.

“There’s a good feeling around the squad,” said Buttler. “It would have been great to have two more games but got some great experience and a lot of guys have been in the IPL, so not short of cricket. Selection is difficult but a nice place to be. Wood and Archer operating together today was really exciting.”

Buttler - playing his first match since celebrating the birth of his third child - was particularly heartened by the performances of his bowlers. On a typically fine Oval wicket, a score of 180, or even more, felt par; as Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam amassed 59 during the Powerplay, Pakistan appeared well on course to get there.

Instead, Archer snaring Babar with a slower ball, caught at short third man, was the prelude to a Pakistan collapse. Rashid was playing only his second professional match in any format of the game since February 11, yet displayed immaculate control, while showing off his variations. In his first over, a leg break that didn’t turn - natural variation, Rashid said – slipped through the gap between Rizwan’s bat and pad, prompting approving gasps among the crowd.

While Archer, though not quite at his best, continued his encouraging return, Wood outdid him for pace, reaching 95mph. The notion that the two can play alongside each other in the same team is a tantalising one, and will surely be seen at times in the Caribbean. But Reece Topley, who was rested, seems likely to slot back into the side for Wood when England face Scotland on Tuesday. That would leave Sam Curran, player of the tournament when England lifted the T20 World Cup in Australia, as a reserve; Curran not playing in either of the two games possible this series indicates that, for now, he remains locked out of England’s first XI.

Chasing 158, England had scope to accumulate and minimise risk. Instead, Buttler and Salt batted with the verve they had displayed during brilliant Indian Premier League campaigns. In a spell from the fourth to the sixth over, the pair amassed 44 in 11 balls. Two sixes crunched over midwicket showed Salt’s power.

In four balls against Naseem Shah, Buttler then showed the range of his batsmanship: a scoop, a Buttler trademark seen less often recently, for four, and then a sequence of six-four-four through midwicket, point and midwicket once again. After the complaints that England had been too diffident during the ODI World Cup in India, here was the elan that has been their template since 2015. Will Jacks, Jonny Bairstow and Harry Brook followed in the same vein; aptly, Brook sealed the victory with another six, England’s eighth of the night. England might still be a little short of gametime, but they head to the Caribbean having regained something even more important: their identity.


Brutal England hitting puts Pakistan to sword – as it happened


10:06 PM BST

The player of the series is Jos Buttler

I’ve been really pleased with our two performances. We’ve worked hard in training - it’s been good to get the guys together and there’s a good feeling around the squad.

(On his own form) I’ve been trying to find a few different things in my game that I haven’t been doing, that I could do more. That’s given me a bit of extra energy and motivation.

It would have been great to have two more games in the series but a lot of the guys have been playing in the IPL so we’re not too short on cricket. It’s good to get a couple of wins, that’s really important as well.


10:03 PM BST

The player of the match is Adil Rashid

It wasn’t spinning much so it was about trying to be clever - vary the pace, bowl tight lines. As a spin department we’ll have to assess the conditions for every game at the World Cup.

I haven’t played for a couple of months but my preparation has been good and thankfully things have fallen into place.

Hopefully, Inshallah, we can win the World Cup. It won’t be easy, we know we have to be on our A game to have a chance.


09:50 PM BST

England 2 Pakistan 0

It wasn’t the ideal warm-up, with two games washed out, but England will fly to the Caribbean tomorrow in good shape.

The only selection decision ahead of the opening game against Scotland on Tuesday is whether they can get Mark Wood into the team. It won’t be easy, given the importance of Reece Topley, but Wood bowled ferociously at times tonight. As the cliche goes, it’s a nice problem to have.


09:46 PM BST

England win by seven wickets with 27 balls to spare!

15.3 OVERS: ENG 158/3 (Bairstow 28 Brook 17) Harry Brook finishes the match in style, slapping Haris Rauf over extra cover for six. That’s a mightily impressive victory from England, who win the rain-affected series 2-0.

Harry Brook seals it with a six
Harry Brook seals it with a six - Adam Davy/PA

09:43 PM BST

OVER 15: ENG 148/3 (Bairstow 28 Brook 7)

Naseem drops fractionally short to Bairstow, who can’t resist the urge to put him in the crowd at square leg. That’s his third six. He follows that with a steer over the keeper for four and a straight drive that is well stopped on the boundary by Haris. Naseem had a tough night: 4-0-51-0. But with the World Cup in mind, 4 is the most important number.

Jonny Bairstow smashes one of his three sixes
Jonny Bairstow smashes one of his three sixes - Glyn Kirk/AFP

09:39 PM BST

OVER 14: ENG 135/3 (Bairstow 16 Brook 6)

The required rate is hovering around four an over, so Brook and Bairstow are happy to milk Shaheen for singles. Four of them, to be precise. It’s a foolproof tactic.


09:35 PM BST

OVER 13: ENG 131/3 (Bairstow 14 Brook 4)

Naseem Shah replaces Haris Rauf, which seems a bit strange. Surely Pakistan’s only hope is for Haris to bowl out and hopefully take one or two more England batsmen with him.

It’s a decent over from Naseem, five from it. But Pakistan need wickets.


09:30 PM BST

OVER 12: ENG 126/3 (Bairstow 13 Brook 1)

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Jonny. After a few sighters, Bairstow wallops Shadab over extra cover for successive sixes. The first was particularly chilling, flat and ferociously hard. England need 32 from 48 balls.


09:27 PM BST

OVER 11: ENG 112/3 (Bairstow 0 Brook 0)

Haris has taken a wicket in each of his three overs, and he had Jacks dropped as well.

Haris Rauf bowled thrillingly to take three wickets in as many overs
Haris Rauf bowled thrillingly to take three wickets in as many overs - Glyn Kirk/AFP

09:26 PM BST

Wicket!

Jacks b Haris 20 Fast bowling > everything else, ever. The ball after being driven for a huge six over long off, Haris bowls Will Jacks with a perfect yorker that thuds into the base of off stump. That’s just wonderful. FOW: 112/3


09:20 PM BST

OVER 10: ENG 102/2 (Jacks 10 Bairstow 0)

Shadab concedes just a single from his second over. Pakistan are having a good spell here, using an age-old method: legspin at one end, searing pace at the other. The problem is that England are so far ahead of the rate that they can afford a bit of downtime. Another couple of wickets would make things interesting, mind.


09:17 PM BST

OVER 9: ENG 101/2 (Jacks 9 Bairstow 0)

Jonny Bairstow is the new batter; England need 57 from 66 balls.

Meanwhile, here’s that dropped catch in the previous over.


09:16 PM BST

Wicket!

Buttler c Azam b Haris 39 

Jacks edges Haris through to the keeper Azam, who drops a simple chance. The first one he put down was fairly tricky but that was straightforward.

This is a seriously good over from Haris, which includes two plays-and-misses from Jacks, an inadvertent boundary off the back of the bat from Buttler - and finally a wicket when Buttler snicks a drive through to the keeper. FOW: 101/2


09:11 PM BST

OVER 8: ENG 96/1 (Buttler 35 Jacks 8)

A change of pace, with the legspinner Shadab Khan coming into the attack. He restores a bit of order by conceding only five singles. Pakistan need wickets, but a boundaryless over will do for now.


09:09 PM BST

OVER 7: ENG 91/1 (Buttler 33 Jacks 4)

Will Jacks stands tall to slap his first ball through the covers for four, a shot of intimidating authority.

England are batting quite spectacularly. Buttler pulls four more to make it 65 runs from the last four overs.


09:05 PM BST

Wicket!

Salt c Rizwan b Haris 45 Salt pings Haris Rauf straight to cow corner, where Mohammad Rizwan takes a comfortable catch. Pakistan needed that, big-time. FOW: 82/1

Haris Rauf celebrates the wicket of Phil Salt
Haris Rauf celebrates the wicket of Phil Salt - Glyn Kirk/AFP

09:02 PM BST

OVER 6: ENG 78/0 (Salt 41 Buttler 29)

Of all the batsmen from Test-playing nations with at 500 runs in T20 internationals, only India’s Suryakumar Yadav has a higher strike-rate than Salt’s 167. He starts Amir’s over with successive boundaries, though the second came after a dropped catch from the keeper Azam Khan. Salt top-edged a pull and should really have been taken by Azam diving high to his left.

It wasn’t and Salt and Buttler have leathered 78 from the Powerplay, including 52 from the last three overs.

Phil Salt smashes another boundary
Phil Salt smashes another boundary - Glyn Kirk/AFP

08:58 PM BST

OVER 5: ENG 67/0 (Salt 30 Buttler 29)

My word, Naseem Shah’s second over has been butchered for 25! Salt spanked a slower ball over midwicket for six, then Buttler hit 18 from the last four balls: a ramp for four, a six over long-on, a flashing drive backward of square and a smooth pull to the fence.


08:52 PM BST

OVER 4: ENG 42/0 (Salt 23 Buttler 11)

Mohammad Amir starts his evening’s work with a widish delivery that Buttler times past backward point for four. Buttler gets a bit lucky when another leading edge doesn’t go to hand.

Salt has precisely no assistance from Dame Fortune when he cuffs Amir over midwicket for a mighty six and forces the next delivery past extra cover for four. He’s off to his usual flyer, 23 from 15 balls.


08:49 PM BST

OVER 3: ENG 26/0 (Salt 12 Buttler 6)

When Shaheen strays onto the pads of Buttler, Azam saves three runs with a good stop to his left. There’s nothing he can do later in the over when an inswinger flies past him for four wides.

England have had moments of fortune, including a healthy leading edge from Buttler in that over, but they’re off to a good start.


08:44 PM BST

OVER 2: ENG 18/0 (Salt 11 Buttler 5)

Naseem Shah v Phil Salt is a contest that is never likely to want for testosterone. Salt smashes a boundary through the covers, is beaten by a jaffa and then clatters four more through square leg.

Phil Salt hits Naseem Shah for four
Phil Salt hits Naseem Shah for four - Adam Davy/PA

08:39 PM BST

OVER 1: ENG 10/0 (Salt 3 Buttler 5)

Shaheen Afridi starts the innings with a textbook inswinging yorker that Salt crunches for a single. A lively first over includes an edge for four from Buttler, just wide of slip, a number of singles and a wide.


08:30 PM BST

England need 158 to win

They are certainly favourites, but Pakistan have a serious pace attack so anything’s possible. Here come the players.


08:21 PM BST

Wicket!

Haris run out 8 Haris Rauf smears Archer for four but is then run out by a mile. That’s a job well done from England, especially as Pakistan were 59/0 at one stage. FOW: 157 all out

Mark Wood and Chris Jordan walk off at the end of the Pakistan innings
Mark Wood and Chris Jordan walk off at the end of the Pakistan innings - Adam Davy/PA

08:18 PM BST

OVER 19: PAK 150/9 (Amir 0 Haris 1)

Wood ends an eye-catching night’s work with figures of 4-0-35-2. His pace was excellent, with a top speed of 95.4mph, and he bowled two or three absolute snorters.


08:16 PM BST

Wicket!

Naseem c Buttler b Wood 16 The ball after being driven over mid-off for four, Wood dismisses Naseem with another very sharp short ball. Naseem shaped to play a baseball shot, was beaten for pace and looped a simple catch off the splice to Buttler. FOW: 149/9


08:12 PM BST

OVER 18: PAK 145/8 (Naseem 12 Amir 0)

Jordan’s figures look a whole lot better now: 3-0-24-1.


08:12 PM BST

Wicket!

Iftikhar c Brook b Jordan 21 A superb over of death bowling from Chris Jordan: two runs and a wicket from the final ball when the dangerous Iftikhar holes out to cow corner. FOW: 145/8


08:07 PM BST

OVER 17: PAK 143/7 (Iftikhar 20 Naseem 11)

Naseem gives the strike to Iftikhar - by belabouring Rashid’s final delivery down the ground for a huge six! Pick that out. Rashid ends a classy spell with figures of 4-0-27-2.

Naseem Shah launches Adil Rashid for six
Naseem Shah launches Adil Rashid for six - Glyn Kirk/AFP

08:03 PM BST

OVER 16: PAK 133/7 (Iftikhar 18 Naseem 3)

Pakistan would normally have Imad Wasim at No8, but he’s missing tonight with a minor injury so they have a long tail. Naseem is trying to get Iftikhar back on strike at every opportunity; there are seven runs, all singles and wides, from Archer’s over.


07:58 PM BST

OVER 15: PAK 126/7 (Iftikhar 16 Naseem 0)

The new batsman Naseem Shah can’t stop Livingstone completing a double-wicket maiden. Blimey.

Shaheen Shah Afridi is bowled by Liam Livingstone
Shaheen Shah Afridi is bowled by Liam Livingstone - Glyn Kirk/AFP

07:56 PM BST

Wicket!

Shaheen b Livingstone 0 Shaheen Afridi, who is too high at No8, lasts two balls. He tried to slog-sweep Livingstone, missed and was cleaned up. FOW: 126/7


07:54 PM BST

Wicket!

Usman c Jordan b Livingstone 38 Chris Jordan, ladies and gents. Usman Khan wallops Livingstone towards long-off, where Jordan charges in and swoops forward to take a catch that is both magnificent and routine. Usman played really well to make 38 from 21 balls, but he took on the wrong fielder. FOW: 126/6


07:52 PM BST

OVER 14: PAK 126/5 (Usman 38 Iftikhar 16)

Jordan on for Rashid, who has marvellous figures of 3-0-17-2. The fact the ball has been wet all night makes his performance even better.

Usman slashes Jordan into the ground with enough pace to beat Rashid at short third man; he’s batting beautifully, with such certainty in his strokeplay. He’s even doing a bit of coaching: later in the over, Iftikhar plays a similar stroke for four more. Twelve from the over.


07:47 PM BST

OVER 13: PAK 114/5 (Usman 32 Iftikhar 10)

The new bowler Livingstone is clunked just short of long on by Iftikhar. It’s a boundaryless over, which is good for England, but Pakistan do manage to scamper eight runs.


07:43 PM BST

OVER 12: PAK 105/5 (Usman 29 Iftikhar 6)

Usman launches a wide delivery from Rashid over long off for six, and once again he keeps strike with a single off the final ball.


07:40 PM BST

OVER 11: PAK 96/5 (Usman 21 Iftikhar 5)

Usman Khan, whose impressive start was overshadowed by the wickets and the rain break, moves to 21 from 11 balls by slashing Wood for four and taking a single off the last delivery.


07:39 PM BST

The players are back on the field

Mark Wood has two balls of his third over, the 11th of the innings, remaining. It’s still drizzling so who knows how long they’ll be out there.


07:31 PM BST

Play will restart at 7.40pm

Which is any minute now.


07:30 PM BST

Watch: Wood roughs up Azam Khan


07:26 PM BST

Rain stops play

OVER 11: PAK 91/5 (Usman 16 Iftikhar 5) The new batsman Iftikhar uses Wood’s pace to glide his first ball for four - and then the umpires take the players off the field. It’s been drizzling for at least half an hour and they’ve decided it’s time for a break.


07:23 PM BST

Wicket!

Azam c Buttler b Wood 0 My word, that is a ferocious delivery from Mark Wood. He followed Azam Khan with a brutish short ball that brushed the glove, then hit the shoulder (of the man, not the bat) and ballooned into the gloves of Buttler. FOW: 86/5

Azam Khan fell to a vicious delivery from Mark Wood
Azam Khan fell to a vicious delivery from Mark Wood - Glyn Kirk/AFP

07:19 PM BST

OVER 10: PAK 84/4 (Usman 15 Azam 0)

Usman Khan is sent back by the new batsman Azam Khan and has to scramble to make his ground as Archer’s throw whistles past the stumps. I think he would have made it.

Azam is all over the place against Rashid. He’s hit on the pad outside leg stump, then misses a slog-sweep. Just one run from a superb over. Rashid has played a part in all four dismissals: two wickets, two catches.

Adil Rashid takes an excellent catch to dismiss Fakhar Zaman
Adil Rashid takes an excellent catch to dismiss Fakhar Zaman - Glyn Kirk/AFP

07:16 PM BST

Wicket!

Shadab b Rashid 0 A golden duck for Shadab Khan! He can’t believe his luck. The ball from Rashid was going well down the leg side until it hit Shadab on the pad and deflected onto the stumps. Pakistan have lost four wickets for 25 in 21 balls. FOW: 84/4


07:14 PM BST

England forced to adapt

Without Reece Topley, who thrives with the new ball, England’s attack have to perform slightly different roles. Mark Wood tends to only bowl one over in the Powerplay, but bowled two in the first six at The Oval, generating pace recorded at 95mph. But the best sight for England fans so far was Adil Rashid clean bowling Mohammad Rizwan through the gate with a delivery that skidded straight on.


07:13 PM BST

OVER 9: PAK 83/3 (Usman 14 Shadab 0)

That’s an important wicket because Fakhar can destroy any attack in the world.

It’s still raining by the way.


07:12 PM BST

Wicket!

Fakhar c Rashid b Ali 9 Fakhar charges Moeen, gets nowhere near the pitch and still manages to cuff the ball into the crowd at cow corner, a shot played with a flamingo flourish.

He tries again next ball and survives a stumping chance when the unsighted Buttler drops the ball. But a chaotic innings comes to an end when he smears Moeen miles in the air and is very well caught by Rashid at square leg. FOW: 83/3


07:10 PM BST

OVER 8: PAK 73/2 (Usman 12 Fakhar 2)

Liam Livingstone, on for Archer, drops short and is smeared into the crowd by Usman.

Usman slices the next ball fractionally short of Rashid, diving forward at short third man. He has an interesting backstory, Usman: he’s 29 and was playing cricket in the UAE until until he started belting T20 hundreds on the franchise circuit.


07:05 PM BST

OVER 7: PAK 66/2 (Usman 4 Fakhar 1)

The new batsman is the dangerous Fakhar Zaman. There’s a bit of rain at The Oval but play will continue for now.


07:03 PM BST

Wicket!

Rizwan b Rashid 23 Adil Rashid strikes with his fourth ball. Rizwan pushed nervously at a flighted delivery that skidded through the gate to hit the stumps. Natural variation? Very probably, but Rashid won’t care. FOW: 65/2


07:01 PM BST

OVER 6: PAK 59/1 (Rizwan 22 Usman 0)

That was the last ball of an eventful over. Salt saved a couple of boundaries, then Babar belted successive fours, and finally Archer cramped Babar for room to force the wicket.


07:00 PM BST

Wicket!

Babar c Rashid b Archer 36 Four, four and out for Babar Azam. He was getting stuck into Jofra Archer, who responded decisively with a good delivery that Babar steered to Rashid at short third man. FOW: 59/1


06:55 PM BST

OVER 5: PAK 47/0 (Rizwan 22 Babar 24)

Wood off, Moeen Ali on. Babar immediately drives him for a gorgeous straight six, then Rizwan dabs deftly for four. They’re approaching the usual fifty partnership - but there’s nothing wrong with their strike rate tonight.


06:50 PM BST

OVER 4: PAK 33/0 (Rizwan 15 Babar 17)

Chris Jordan, on for Archer, starts with a low full toss that flies just past Babar’s off stump. Babar, who had been getting frustrated after plinking a few attacking strokes, lashes successive deliveries over and through extra cover for four. That takes him to 4,000 IT20 runs; only Virat has more.


06:46 PM BST

OVER 3: PAK 22/0 (Rizwan 15 Babar 7)

After two overs of mistiming everything Rizwan finds the middle of his bat, push-driving Wood for successive boundaries through extra cover and point.

Wood does well to concede only a couple from the last four balls, which includes an appeal for caught behind when Rizwan misses an attempted uppercut. It missed the bat by a distance.


06:41 PM BST

OVER 2: PAK 13/0 (Rizwan 6 Babar 6)

England opened with Moeen Ali on Saturday; unsurprisingly, given conditions, it’s pace at both ends today. Jofra Archer’s second ball is a lovely outswinger that Rizwan edges past leg stump for a couple, with Wood doing well to save the boundary.

It’s a fine start from Archer, with both openers unable to time a single attacking stroke. Babar screams with frustration after clothing the last ball into the off side.

Jofra Archer in action at The Oval
Jofra Archer in action at The Oval - Glyn Kirk/AFP

06:36 PM BST

OVER 1: PAK 8/0 (Rizwan 3 Babar 5)

A cracking start to the game. Mark Wood’s second ball is a 95mph outswinger that beats Rizwan all ends up. His fourth is even quicker, 96mph, but it doesn’t swing and Babar times it imperiously through midwicket for four.

The outfield is wet, so shots like that serve a dual purpose for Pakistan - the wetter the ball, the less chance of it swinging.


06:28 PM BST

Here come the players

There will probably be a rain break at some stage, but for now it looks like we’re going to see some cricket.

Mark Wood and Jofra Archer are back together - as are Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan at the top of the order for Pakistan. Their average opening partnership is almost 50, which is remarkable in T20, but there’s an endless debate over their scoring rate.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan walk out to the middle
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan walk out to the middle - Glyn Kirk/AFP

06:12 PM BST

Curran stays on the sidelines

So Tom Hartley will have to wait until the T20 World Cup to make his T20 international debut. Far from ideal - but Adil Rashid has only bowled four overs since February in any format of cricket. You can understand England’s thinking; the two washed-out games mean that their preparation is substandard.

Sam Curran, player of the tournament in the last T20 World Cup, hasn’t made the XI for either England match against Pakistan: a sign that he is unlikely to make the first choice 11 for the World Cup, as things stand.

Sam Curran in action during training
Sam Curran in action during training - Bradley Collyer/PA

06:06 PM BST

Team news

Mark Wood replaces Reece Topley in England’s only change, which means he’ll share a ball with Jofra Archer once again.

Pakistan have made two changes: Usman Khan and Naseem Shah come in for Saim Ayub and the injured Imad Wasim. That means they have a very lively four-man pace attack.

England Salt, Buttler (c/wk), Jacks, Bairstow, Brook, Ali, Livingstone, Jordan, Archer, Rashid, Wood.

Pakistan Babar (c), Rizwan, Usman, Fakhar, Shadab, Azam (wk), Iftikhar, Shaeen, Haris, Amir, Naseem.


06:03 PM BST

England win the toss and bowl

Jos Buttler, back with the team after the birth of his third child, cites a bit of green grass and the weather as the main reasons England want to chase.

Babar Azam says Pakistan would also have bowled.

Jonny Bairstow warms up ahead of the match at The Oval
Jonny Bairstow warms up ahead of the match at The Oval - Adam Davy/PA

05:38 PM BST

Forecast mixed for final T20 international

A damp squib is better than a complete washout, right? A full game looks unlikely tonight, but there is the prospect of a reduced contest at The Oval. The forecast suggests there shouldn’t be much rain, if any, after 7.30pm.

England’s warm-up series against Pakistan has lost much of its fizz because of the abandonments at Leeds and Cardiff, but time in the middle is always valuable for one reason or another – especially when you are less than five days away from your opening World Cup match.

Jos Buttler’s team play Scotland on Tuesday, and there are still a few selection decisions to make. Sam Curran or Chris Jordan? Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone or both? Should Jofra Archer play every game or be saved for the big ones as he eases his way back?

The four players who missed out last Saturday at Edgbaston – Curran, Tom Hartley, Ben Duckett and Mark Wood – will really want a game tonight. It’ll be interesting to see whether England oblige them or stick to what felt like a first-choice XI.

What do you reckon? I can’t see Duckett playing, but they’ll probably try to give some of the other bowlers a run-out. Chances are they’ll need them in the Caribbean.


05:33 PM BST

Wood keen on Archer reunion

By Tim Wigmore

Mark Wood believes that he could play alongside Jofra Archer in the same side in the Twenty20 World Cup, raising the tantalising prospect of  England unleashing two express bowlers in the Caribbean.

Wood and Archer played in tandem in 10 out of 11 games during England’s 2019 World Cup victory, which was Archer’s last appearance in a world event. In Archer’s absence, the Durham quick played an important role in England’s T20 World Cup win in Australia in 2022, taking nine wickets in four games.

While Wood did not feature in England’s win over Pakistan on Saturday - their only match of the series so far, with the other two games abandoned without a ball being bowled - he hopes to play alongside Archer during the T20 World Cup defence.

“I’ve played with Jofra before, and I don’t see it’s like me or him,” Wood said.

“I don’t see why we can’t play together. We played together at the 2019 World Cup and things went pretty well. I don’t see why we can’t play in the same team, but maybe it’s up to the management to manage our bodies and see how we get through the tournament.”

Wood hailed Archer’s form since his return to the squad. Archer took 2-28 against Pakistan on Saturday, reaching 90mph in his first international for 14 months. But he said that there is no rivalry between the two about who can bowl quicker.”

“I just want to let Jofra bowl, let him get back into things - show what he’s made of and capable of without having to push and say I bowled faster than that. I think for both of us it’s just stay fit, take wickets and try to affect games.

Wood admitted that he was frustrated about how rain had disrupted England’s T20 World Cup preparations, with their opening match against Scotland in Barbados on Tuesday. There is a further risk of rain at The Oval tomorrow, meaning that England could play only one match during their scheduled four-match T20 series against Pakistan. The series is England’s first in T20 cricket this year.

“Obviously it’s not ideal when you schedule four games and we might only get one or two,” he said. “One or two of us might feel like we need a game or two to get going, but there will be no excuses. It’s coming round thick and fast. Whatever preparation we get, that’s what we’re going to have to go with.”

Wood also said that he is happy with his own recovery from a knee injury.

“I actually feel like I’m getting to the stage where I’m off my full run, I’m ready to play. I was going to play this last game in Cardiff. I feel I was in a position to bowl quickly and test it out - really happy with where I’ve managed to get it to.”

Mark Wood was scheduled to play in the abandoned match at Cardiff
Mark Wood was scheduled to play in the abandoned match at Cardiff - Zac Goodwin/PA

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