NZ v Eng Chris Woakes

Published on March 11th, 2018 | by Suraj Choudhari

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Chris Woakes: The lad is improving day by day

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“Woakes has pulled up on every front in the recent times. He averages 46.12 with the bat in ODIs since 2017. With the ball, Woakes has picked 37 wickets at 23.02 in 20 innings as compared to his career ODI bowling average of 30.77 in the said period. These numbers indicate the kind of cricketer Woakes has evolved into”.

England are blessed with superstars, they have an intimidating side, especially in the shorter formats. There is absolutely no dearth of superstars, this side is brimming with match-winners. Along with incredible depth in batting, England have immense diversity in their bowling as well, which also make them a force to be reckoned with. Such is the line-up of England, that they keep coming at you and a team just can’t afford to step a foot wrong against such a powerhouse.

With an emphatic win at Christchurch, England clinched the five-match series by 3-2. They have now won nine of their last ten ODI series, which only speaks volumes of the kind of dominance they have had in this format. At Christchurch, Jonny Bairstow may have hogged all the headlines for his blazing ton while Chris Woakes remained the unsung hero.

Woakes may not come to someone as an intimidating cricketer, but can turn out to be very dangerous on the field. His potential is limitless, he is a silent assassin. He is probably the quickest bowler in this English attack and has been very handy with the bat in lower middle-order. An impactful all-rounder, who could chip early wickets, bowl well in the death, garner crucial runs and reliant on the field – Woakes is a complete package to have.

Woakes walked away with Man of the Series trophy for his outstanding run throughout the series. The pace bowling all-rounder belted 10 wickets at 20.30 with best figures of 3 for 32 along with 30 runs in his basket. It was his bowling that caught a massive attention this time and looks in good rhythm going into the Test series. He got the ball to move when there was help in the surface and meant business.

It is needless to speak about the kind of stability and depth an impactful all-rounder brings to the table. In this batsmen-dominated game, the need for a firing all-rounder has only increased and made them a much-needed breed. With the balance of the game being heavily tilted in batsmen’s favour, the five-bowler strategy has become crucial. A bowling unit cannot afford to have any weak link in their attack and to maintain the perfect balance the situation demands an impactful all-rounder, who can perform both the duties. And England are fortunate enough to have the services of Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali.

Woakes’ career-graph has been on a hike, he is learning from every series and has been adapting to different conditions quite well. His effectiveness in the death overs has also been commendable. The third ODI at Wellington went down the wire with a well set Kane Williamson at the crease. Woakes had 15 runs to defend in the final over while the centurion Williamson was on strike. He mixed up his deliveries well and delivered a perfect wide yorker on the last delivery when New Zealand needed five to win. He ruled a six out of the equation with that kind of a delivery, which speaks about his astuteness.

Coming to Christchurch, the series was evenly poised with both the teams having two wins apiece. England opted to field first on a pitch that was expected to be a high-scoring one. Woakes pressed the accelerator right from the outset by striking on his very third delivery. He got rid of Colin Munro to set the tone and push New Zealand on the back foot. He kept things really tight and didn’t give away any freebies. He bowled six overs for just 13 runs in his first spell and maintained the pressure from his end.

Woakes then scalped two more wickets of hard-hitting Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee in the penultimate over. He ended up with figures of 10-1-32-3 as New Zealand were bowled out for a modest total of 223. Woakes and Adil Rashid were the pick of the bowlers after which, English batsmen showed no mercy in chasing down the target.

“There were a few better knocks than my bowling, but happy to take it, nice to come out on top in a tight series. Nice to pick some wickets up top, a couple of pitches have offered a little bit, a bit of extra bounce this morning. The important thing is, if you take wickets up front, you naturally stem that flow of runs. You look at their strengths and weaknesses and try to expose them. Think on your feet a little bit,” Woakes was quoted in a report from ESPNCricinfo.

Woakes has pulled up on every front in the recent times. He averages 46.12 with the bat in ODIs since 2017. With the ball, Woakes has picked 37 wickets at 23.02 in 20 innings as compared to his career ODI bowling average of 30.77 in the said period. These numbers indicate the kind of cricketer Woakes has evolved into. With the World Cup almost a year away, England are peaking at the right time as a unit and will eye to lift the coveted trophy this time in their backyard.

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About the Author

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Suraj Choudhari is a freelance sports journalist. He is an avid follower of the game and played the sport at club level. With a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, he tries to express it through paper and pen.



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