It was a delivery that not only claimed Australia’s fifth wicket, but confirmed the sense that England were on their way to the World Cup final. Adil Rashid’s googly to trap Marcus Stoinis lbw was a fine example of England’s legspinner going about his craft as well as an indication that he is getting “back to my best” after a shoulder injury that hampered his performance earlier in the tournament.
Rashid has been managing a problem with his right shoulder that required an injection and limited his ability to deliver his variations. The dismissal of Stoinis was his first wicket from a googly at this World Cup, and he followed up later in the innings by also removing Pat Cummins with the delivery on the way to figures of 3 for 54.
He admitted afterwards that he had been searching to “find that snap” with his wrong’un again after recovering from the injury.
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“Probably not bowled them as much,” he said. “The main reason was because of my shoulder because I’ve got a bit of a shoulder problem. But I knew that [the googly] is a big weapon for me, that’s one of my big weapons, my variations, looking to create stuff. My shoulder had that little bit of problem and I know I still had to bowl it even if I was in a bit of a pain. Knowing that’s my strength, that’s why I get wickets. Today and the previous two days of practice I’ve done was for that as well.
“It’s been good for a while. But in terms of variations, googlies and stuff, it’s been a bit different to what it was pre-shoulder problem. Before the shoulder [injury], I was confident bowling everything. Once you have a niggle it becomes a bit harder with the rotation – the arm gets a bit lower and you don’t find that snap. The previous two net sessions I’ve done it’s come out well.”
While he said he had been forced to deliver his googly differently for a while, Rashid was hopeful that problem had now been resolved and said that the dismissal of Stoinis provided further encouragement.
“It has been [different]. But now I can get it back to my best. That would come by maybe having that confidence to do it regardless of whatever happens and knowing that I need to do it because that’s my best strength.
“It was nice to make a batsman go for a cut on the back foot and spinning it back in that he doesn’t pick, that’s a nice feeling as any spinner that bowls a variation [knows], that a batsman doesn’t pick and gets a wicket. That just gives me more confidence to make sure I keep sticking to my strengths, don’t go away from that regardless of how I feel, knowing if I stick to that things will happen.”
Rashid’s performance also included breaking Australia’s fourth-wicket partnership, having Alex Carey caught on the midwicket boundary, before he struck against Stoinis three balls later. He now has 11 World Cup wickets at 44.27, but those figures could have been better had other chances stuck – notably the drop of Mohammad Hafeez at Trent Bridge and a missed stumping against Usman Khawaja at Lord’s – and Rashid suggested he was happy with his bowling.
“I reckon there’s been a few times I’ve bowled better but not got the rewards. But that happens in cricket, sometimes you bowl well and don’t get wickets. You don’t bowl as well, you get wickets. That’s cricket and that happens to everybody. For me personally, I want to keep striving, keep looking to work hard and keeping looking to deliver my skills and be confident in that.”
Having become a central figure in the first England team to reach a World Cup final since 1992, Rashid was quick to praise Eoin Morgan as “100%” the best captain he had played under.
“100%, Morgs. He knows my game now inside out. Been with him for four years, through good times and not so good times. He knows my strengths, what I’m capable of and vice-versa as well.
“Me and him have that communication. We have that trust as well. If he senses a feel, we’ll go by it. If I sense a feel, we’ll go by it – what plans we want or how we should bowl. It’s very easy like that. We’re easygoing like that. I 100% trust him in decisions he makes.”
As for their progress to the final against New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday, Rashid said the realisation was beginning to dawn that they could become the first England team to lift the trophy.
“At the beginning of the tournament I couldn’t believe it. It’s been a good journey in the World Cup. The ups, the downs as well. Some interesting times. We’ve played good cricket the past three games and now to be in a position where we can win it, it’s a good feeling.”