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Moeen Ali says Ben Stokes will be key for England at T20 World Cup – even if he doesn’t score any runs

“I don’t care if Ben doesn’t score any runs in the next couple of games because once the World Cup comes, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Even if he doesn’t score runs, he’s a great player to have” – follow England’s final T20I vs Australia on Friday (9.10am UK time) through our live blog

Last Updated: 13/10/22 1:59pm


Moeen Ali wants Ben Stokes in England’s T20 World Cup XI – even if he does not score any runs

Moeen Ali has backed “gun player” Ben Stokes to show his class at the T20 World Cup – but says he will still be vital to the England team even if he does not score any runs.

Stokes has been dismissed for nine and seven in the opening two T20 internationals against Australia, both of which England won by eight runs to earn a series victory with a game to spare.

Test skipper Stokes still played a big role in England’s triumph in Canberra on Wednesday evening, dismissing Australia’s top-scorer Mitchell Marsh after previously denying him a six with a staggering stop on the boundary.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s third and final T20 international, also in Canberra, Moeen said: “When the big games come, he’ll score runs and that’s what you want from your gun players.

Stokes pulled off a remarkable boundary save during England's win over in Australia in Canberra on Wednesday

Stokes pulled off a remarkable boundary save during England’s win over in Australia in Canberra on Wednesday

“Ben offers so much even if he’s not scoring runs – he opened the bowling (on Wednesday night) and bowled really well and he was brilliant in the field – that effort was amazing.

“I don’t care if Ben doesn’t score any runs in the next couple of games because once the World Cup comes, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Even if he doesn’t score runs, he’s a great player to have in your team.”

England begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.

Hazlewood: England ‘have the wood over us’

England have now won six of their last seven T20 internationals against Australia, including an eight-wicket thumping of Aaron Finch’s side in the group stage of last year’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

It also now three successive bilateral series victories over Australia in the format, with home seamer Josh Hazlewood saying England have “got the wood over us”.

After Friday, the teams will then meet again at the T20 World Cup, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 28.

Hazlewood said of England: “They’ve got the wood over us in the last few series, they’re a quality outfit.

Josh Hazlewood says England 'have the wood' over Australia

Josh Hazlewood says England ‘have the wood’ over Australia

“I still think they’re pretty close to the benchmark with India. It’s a good challenge to have leading into the World Cup and playing three games against them.”

Moeen added: “I don’t think it’s a mental edge on Australia. We know under pressure in group games in the World Cup they will be completely different.

“It’s whoever turns up on the day. We know that as a team because we’ve lost in semi-finals and finals when we haven’t quite turned up. That’s where we want to change things.”

‘Buttler has a fantastic cricket brain’

England lost their first two T20I series under new captain Jos Buttler and coach Matthew Mott, going down 2-1 to both India and South Africa during the home summer.

But they have won their last two, in Pakistan, where Moeen stepped in as captain with Buttler nursing a calf strain, and now in Australia.

Moeen Ali scored 44 in England's victory on Wednesday, putting on 92 from 52 balls with Dawid Malan

Moeen Ali scored 44 in England’s victory on Wednesday, putting on 92 from 52 balls with Dawid Malan

Moeen said: “The summer was a natural transition from Morgs [50-over World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan]. The team was going through change and was always going to have a dip. We played two very good teams. I wasn’t worried and I don’t think Jos was worried.

“Under Morgs everything was a lot more structured. Jos is finding out what he can do with the side and make it a better team than it was.

“He’s captained exceptionally well in tough games, to defend in Australia twice already is great for him and the team.

“He’s got a fantastic cricket brain. He’s very open-minded as a captain, always thinking outside the box. It might not always come off but to become a better team we need that.”

Our live blog of England’s third T20 international against Australia, in Canberra, will get under way at 8.45am on Friday ahead of a 9.10am start.

Watch the T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports from Sunday, October 16. England’s first game is against Afghanistan on Saturday, October 22, with build-up starting at 11.30am ahead of a midday start.



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