England captain Stuart Broad sets off on the defence of his side's World Twenty20 crown on Thursday in buoyant mood after a 28-run victory over South Africa at Edgbaston.
Rain reduced the contest to 11 overs per side and the hosts were comfortable winners as Craig Kieswetter hit a well-paced 50 and Jos Buttler blasted a stunning 32 not out in just 10 deliveries.That gave England a total of 118 for five, with the Proteas never getting close as the three-match series ended 1-1.
The result left Broad in unusually good spirits - so much so, in fact, that he answered a journalist's phone midway through the post-match press conference. When his mind returned to cricketing matters, Broad was equally upbeat. "Tonight (Wednesday) was awesome to see and a great confidence boost for the squad going to Sri Lanka," he said.
"To get on that flight with a win under our belt is brilliant. Not many of us have played reduced Twenty20 games so it's always hard to know what a par score was and I thought the guys adapted very well."
Buttler was the obvious target for specific praise and Broad was more than happy to offer it, saying: "We've picked guys who can change the momentum of Twenty20 games, we knew we had hitters to come in and Jos played a game-changing innings," he said.
"We've seen this fella do it for Somerset time and time again so to see him do it in an England shirt was brilliant. It pretty much won us the game. Jos was put at five because of the situation with only four overs to go and it paid off."
Despite his satisfaction with the form of his own side, Broad is under no illusions about the size of the task that awaits in Sri Lanka. Although they arrive as reigning champions, England are without the maverick qualities of Kevin Pietersen and face strong competition from all sides. It is a state of affairs Broad both recognises and relishes.
"It's hard to pick a winner, there's five or six (candidates)," he said. "South Africa are a good team as we know from playing them, West Indies have players with experience in IPL cricket, then there's India and Sri Lanka. It's going to be an exciting tournament and any side can win it. It's all about the momentum you can gain when you get there."
Despite the efforts of Buttler and Kieswetter, defeated Proteas skipper AB de Villiers expects England's prospects in the coming weeks to centre around their attack.
"Their bowling line-up has been one of the best in the world for quite a few years now," he said. "I thought they did really well when they won the tournament in the Caribbean; that was probably down to bowlers, who had an amazing tournament. They certainly have a lot of talent, but so do a lot of other teams. May the best team win."
- Jos Buttler
- Craig Kieswetter