Colombo: Luke Wright did everything right to bag the man-of-the-match award after steering England to an emphatic 116-run victory over Afghanistan on Friday night.
He cracked an unconquered 99 off just 55 balls with eight boundaries and six sixes to destroy the confidence of Afghanistan’s team.
Wright admitted that it was a planned assault and it worked well for his team. “We knew how dangerous they were going to be. We watched the India game and saw their dangerous batters. It was a superb effort to bowl them out for 80,” he said.
“I suppose it’s always a disappointment not to finish with a hundred but if I had been offered that this morning I would have snapped anyone’s hand off. I was just so tired by the end, I was just happy to keep the scoreboard going and the most important thing was that we got a big total.”
Wright is delighted that he has cemented his place in the England team. “When I was announced in the 30 originally, I was delighted to be in that 30. I kept my fingers crossed that I could keep scoring runs to force myself into that final 15,” he said.
“Luckily that happened. I was fairly relieved when I got the call that I was in the 15. I suppose then, when I joined up, I was itching to get a chance because I thought I was in the form of my life. Luckily I have been given a go and I suppose it’s about taking it. Hopefully I’ve done that and I can keep building on it for the rest of the tournament.”
Wright acknowledged the support from fellow batsmen Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan. “It is so important in Twenty20 cricket. As soon as someone goes big, the other guys can go around you. To see the guys coming out to bat, each one coming out knowing that they can hit sixes at will just takes massive pressure off the person in. It’s nice to see these guys coming in and start hitting sixes.
“We thought the wicket was going to be slightly flat. After the first couple of overs, we realised there was going to be variable bounce in it. Hales and I were just talking to each other, saying if we can get something started, we didn’t want to lose any more wickets at that point.
“It was really trying to just play strong shots. We just said if we can get one over where we can really go, we will pull it back and that’s what happened. Credit to Hales, he really took the pressure off me.”