Salt credits Pollard for key Super 8s win

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Phil Salt’s blistering unbeaten knock of 87 from 47 balls led England to a comfortable win over West Indies in St Lucia. Salt partnered with Jonny Bairstow (48 not out from 26 balls) to help England wrap up the game with 15 balls to spare.

Speaking after the game, Salt gave due credit to former West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who is serving as the England assistant coach for the tournament.

“Pollard’s brought a lot to the group but I’d say that the most valuable thing I’ve taken so far (from him) is constructing that run chase,” Salt told the reporters. “We’ve spoken a lot about taking eights from one side to take twelves from the other and that’s 200 [runs].”

Patience along with timing were the key to success as per Salt.

“It sounds so simple to say it but putting that into action there wasn’t really. After a point in time out there, I knew I slowed down. I knew I hadn’t got much strike but I knew that If I just get through that period, then we’re going to be in a good position and I can have a good dip, a good calculated risk at the seamers.”

England’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 campaign kicked off with a washed-out game against Scotland, followed by a 36-run loss to Australia. But thereafter the defending champions displayed remarkable form, defeating Oman and Namibia, and making their way into the Super Eights, where they continued the momentum with their convincing win against West Indies.

Sharing insights into how England’s campaign has finally started to take shape, the opener said, “It’s been a very stop-start for us. We had a hiccup against Australia and then, the rain out against Scotland. It’s been a real topsy-turvy start. It didn’t really feel like we played much cricket up to this point.”

“But, yes, I feel like in tournament cricket, you need a bit of confidence and momentum at the right time and you need it to keep building. So, to get a win against the hosts tonight gives us the first push in that direction.”

Fifteen overs into their innings, England still required 40 runs off the last five overs but an expensive 16th over from Romario Shepherd guided them to the victory well before time. Salt hit Shepherd for 30 runs off that over with three sixes and three fours.

On being asked whether he had planned this assault in advance, Salt replied, “In the back of my head, I did [plan it]. I didn’t vocalize it to Jonny [Bairstow], I didn’t want him to say no – but yeah, I feel like they’ve got such good spinners and they’ve bowled really well through the middle. I feel like the first sniff I got, I had to sort of take that chance.”

For the West Indies camp, there were worrying signs after their first loss of the tournament. To compound their issues, opener Brandon King’s situation remains unclear as he was forced to retire due to an injury.

“Yes, a little bit worrying but hopefully he can pull through for the next game,” Powell said after the game.

“We know how important a player he is for us.”

West Indies will next take on co-hosts USA in the tournament, whereas England face-off against South Africa.

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