Archer, Wood’s ‘Extra Edge’ Thrills England’s Livingstone Ahead of T20 World Cup

England bolstered by Archer and Wood for T20 World Cup

LONDON: England all-rounder Liam Livingstone is enthusiastic about the “extra edge” fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood provide, boosting England’s chances as they prepare to defend their T20 World Cup title in Barbados next week.

The two pace aces reunited at The Oval on Thursday, playing crucial roles in England’s seven-wicket win over Pakistan, securing a 2-0 series victory. Archer’s key breakthrough dismissal of Pakistan captain Babar Azam for 36 triggered a collapse, reducing the tourists from 59-0 to 157 all out.

Wood, clocking a rapid 96 mph (154 kph), delivered two fierce bouncers to claim the wickets of Azam Khan and Naseem Shah. Spin-bowling all-rounder Livingstone also contributed with two wickets in an over, while captain Jos Buttler (39) and Phil Salt (45) showcased fine form.

“A 2-0 victory heading into the World Cup is great,” Livingstone commented. “What stands out is having Jof and Woody, giving us an extra edge we’ve never had before.”

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Despite injuries plaguing both fast bowlers, Livingstone emphasized their impact. “Any team with them feels a step ahead even before the game starts,” he said. “Pace can be a double-edged sword, but having these two is a huge advantage, with Chris Jordan also bowling beautifully.”

Following a disappointing 50-over World Cup defense in India last year, England’s faith in skipper Buttler and white-ball coach Matthew Mott remains firm. Livingstone insists, “We’re in a much better place now, which is exciting.”

Livingstone, finally pain-free after enduring a long-term knee injury, shared his relief. “Playing with a niggle for 18 months wasn’t enjoyable. It drained my spirit and enjoyment of cricket,” he admitted. An injection has alleviated his knee issues, reviving his morale. “I feel much better now, and having a smile on my face is what matters most.”

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