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Good that England had a tough outing vs Proteas; would have prepared them for S-F: Charlotte

Former England women’s team batter Charlotte Edwards feels that England would have been disappointed with the loss to South Africa in their final ‘Super 12’ game of the ICC T20 World Cup, but it’s good they had a tight game ahead of the semifinal against New Zealand later on Wednesday.

Barring the game against South Africa, which they lost by 10 runs, the Eoin Morgan-led England have hardly been tested in Group 1 of the ‘Super 12’ stage, battering the likes of West Indies and Australia as they aim to win their second World T20 title here.

“England’s final group match against South Africa was a tough one but while they will be disappointed to come out on the wrong side of it, I think it’s good they’ve had a tight game before the semifinal stage of the tournament,” said Edwards on Tuesday evening.

Edwards, who illustrious two-decade-long career saw her play 23 Tests, 191 WODIs and close to a 100 WT20I, added that a team is better off during the business end of the tournament if it is pushed to the limits.

“You need to have a game where you’re pushed to your limits and they were against the Proteas. Everyone got an opportunity in the batting line-up, as well, which is important — you want to be going into the knockout stages with a lot of the squad having had time in the middle.

However, Edwards felt that the injury to Jason Roy was a huge setback to the 2010 T20 World champions. Opener Roy ruptured a calf muscle while going for a run in the games against the Proteas, which ruled has him out of the World Cup.

“Of course, the main worry for England is Jason Roy’s injury. He’s a massive player for England, he brings so much firepower to the top of the order and he’s a hard man to replace. With Tymal Mills also missing the rest of the tournament through injury, England have been hit a couple of times in a week, which is always tough — especially in two such big positions, opening batter and death bowler,” opined Edwards.

“Those roles are tricky to replace but we have spoken a lot in recent years about England’s enormous white-ball depth and now is the time for that to come to the fore. The players on the sidelines are comfortable within the group and will be ready to step up. Hopefully they can now deliver on the big stage,” Edwards said in her column for the ICC.

She said England’s obvious choice for the opener’s slot in Roy’s absence would be to promote someone like Dawid Malan, one of England’s best batters in the World Cup here.

“England do have a number of players who have opened in T20 cricket before. The obvious solution is to bring Sam Billings into the middle order and promote someone like Dawid Malan, who seems to have been slipping down the order — it might be beneficial to give him a clear role at the top of the order, while James Vince is an option now he’s been called up in Roy’s place.

“Having said that, the bowling against South Africa didn’t look as strong as it had done in previous games — with Mills looking a big miss — so England do have the option of bringing in an extra bowler. There are some big decisions to make but by the time the match starts, they will have done their preparations and everyone will know what they need to do,” added Edwards.

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