Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ICC: Livingstone shows his worth with the ball against Bangladesh

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Photo Credit: ICC

Forrest Gump famously said that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get, and the same applies to Liam Livingstone’s bowling.

The England all-rounder mixes between off-spin, leg-spin and variations in between but performed a crucial role for captain Eoin Morgan in the victory over Bangladesh.

Known more for his brutally destructive batting, Livingstone’s handy spin is fast becoming an underrated weapon in Morgan’s armoury. 

When skittling the West Indies out for just 55 in their opening Super 12s fixture, it was spinners Moeen Ali, two for 17, and Adil Rashid, four for two, who rightly took the plaudits with Livingstone not required to turn his arm over.

However, against Bangladesh it was the Lancashire star who chimed in with a couple of vital scalps. 

Mushfiqur Rahim was the only batter to put together a significant innings, 29 off 30 balls, and it was Livingstone who had him trapped leg before to really put the brakes on any Bangladeshi momentum with the bat.

Mushfiqur had been given not out while attempting a reverse-sweep, but Morgan rightly reviewed and DRS proved Livingstone’s leg-break would have been crashing into middle stump after pitching in line. 

That dismissal ended a partnership of 37 for the fourth wicket, the highest of a lacklustre Bangladesh innings characterised by regular dismissals and wayward running.

Livingstone was bowling when Afif Hossain was chaotically run out and then he claimed the prized scalp of opposition captain Mahmudullah for 19, just as the skipper tried to put his foot down against one of England’s supposed secondary bowlers.

Accounting for the two top scorers and finishing with figures of two for 15, Livingstone’s impact should not be underestimated as his three overs helped restrict Bangladesh from setting any sort of challenging total, in the very first T20 meeting between the sides.

Such was England’s dominance for the second successive game, that Livingstone – who was dismissed for one against the West Indies – was not even required with the bat in Abu Dhabi, his main strong suit.

Player of the match Jason Roy, who smoked 61 from 38 balls as England eased to victory, revealed Livingstone has been putting in the hard yards off the pitch and spending time with spin-bowling coach and former New Zealand bowler Jeetan Patel.

He said: “He [Livingstone] has been working extremely hard. It’s great having Mo[een Ali] and Rash [Adil Rashid] in the side as well and he learns a lot from them.

“And Jeetan Patel, our spin coach, has been giving him some words of wisdom. It’s paying off for him, he’s doing extremely well for us and holding up an end which is extremely positive.”

Roy even tipped Livingstone’s job with the ball to take on greater significance in the latter stages of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, with England currently well-placed as Group 1 leaders to make the semi-finals from the Super 12 stage.

He added: “Especially as the tournament goes on when the pitches might get a little bit harder against spin, who knows, he might have a little bit more of a role to play.”

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