MELBOURNE (AFP): Skipper Jos Buttler says the emphatic way England crushed India to reach Sunday’s Twenty20 World Cup final “doesn’t count for anything” as they bid to become champions in both white-ball formats.
India were humbled by 10 wickets in the semi-finals with Buttler’s composed 80 and Alex Hales’s blistering 86 setting up a blockbuster showdown with Babar Azam’s Pakistan.
The England opener said Saturday there was “a huge amount of excitement” for the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, although it could be affected by rain. A reserve day has been set aside on Monday, but the forecast is equally gloomy.
England continue to have injury worries over Dawid Malan and fast bowler Mark Wood, who both missed Thursday’s semi-final. Buttler said they were “both improving”.
“Obviously there’s not many days since the semi-final, but we are giving them every chance,” he added.
Phil Salt and Chris Jordan are again the likely replacements should they not recover.
Despite the weather and injury concerns, Buttler was in buoyant mood in his pre-match press conference.
“Any time you get a chance to play in a World Cup final is a huge honour. We’re really excited as a group, there’s a nice feel around the team,” he said.
“The previous performance (against India) gives us a lot of confidence, but it doesn’t count for anything.
“Tomorrow we start a fresh game against a really tough opposition and any time you are fighting for a trophy you know it isn’t going to come easy.
“So we will focus on them a little bit and on us a lot and what we need to do to prepare well today to turn up tomorrow and do the best we can.”
England head into the game as the current one-day world champions after their 2019 triumph at home against New Zealand.
Buttler was on the winning team, as were Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Wood, all stalwarts of the side now in the T20 World Cup final.
He said the experience of winning a world title would help them on Sunday.
“Yes, I think any experiences you can draw on, good or bad, you will have learned from those and can reflect on those when you are in a situation of adversity or chaos,” he said.
“Those are things that can happen in a World Cup final so the more experience and being able to understand those feelings and how to react to them, I definitely see that as a benefit.”
While England’s batting runs deep, how they fare could come down to the top order fending off the threat posed by Pakistan pace spearheads Mohammad Nawaz and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Pakistan bouncing back after losing their opening World Cup matches to India and Zimbabwe was largely down to the starts given by their new-ball attack.
They have the second-best economy rate at the tournament in the six-over powerplay, a factor Buttler is aware of.
“They have a fantastic team who have a very long history of producing excellent fast bowlers, and I see the team we are up against as no different,” said Buttler.
“I’m sure by the end of their careers some of the players we are playing against will go down as some of the best Pakistan have produced.
“That’s a huge part of why they are in the final, so we expect a really tough challenge.”