Adil Rashid was irresistible for England as they restricted the USA to just 115 to secure their place in the T20 World Cup semi-finals, finishing with figures of 2-13 from his four overs.


Sterner tests await the England mystery-spinner but his performance in Barbados was the latest in a long line of impactful performances towards the business end of a global tournament. 

Against an American line-up unaccustomed to facing high-class slow bowling, Rashid spun a web around this opponents displaying his full array of variations, doing so with impeccable control.

Rashid’s first over saw him send down slower, tossed up leg-breaks, flatter top-spinners and a pair of wrong-uns; a bowler full of confidence and in total control of his craft.  For so long Rashid has been the pivot around which England’s limited overs bowling attack has operated around, but there is a sense that even now, at 36, he remains an improving bowler whose importance to this side is only growing. 

Rashid occupies a curious space as a cricketer. A white-ball behemoth who has only ever played a handful of IPL matches, he almost operates in his own world, away from the spotlight until the next global tournament comes to town. 

Sam Curran was named Player of the Tournament when England won the 2022 T20 World Cup but Rashid’s contributions were arguably more critical. Across England’s three must-win games at the end of the tournament, Rashid registered back-to-back figures of 1-16, 1-20 and 2-22 (all from four overs). Those 12 overs saw Rashid concede just two fours and not a single maximum.

And after a sedate start to this tournament, Rashid is in a similarly devastating mood; across the second phase of the 2024 tournament, he took combined figures of 4-54. It’s another personal 12-over run where Rashid has conceded just two boundaries. 

Rashid has been particularly devastating with his wrong-un. According to CricViz data, he averages 7.2 at an economy rate of 5.83 with his googlies this tournament. Given his success with the delivery, it is no surprise that has upped his googly percentage from 19 per cent in all T20 cricket since the 2022 T20 World Cup, to 25 per cent this tournament.

Similarly striking is his average speed of 82.7kph/51.39mph – the second-slowest for a wrist-spinner at the tournament. To the naked eye, Rashid looks as confident as he ever has to really take pace off the ball. His ball to dismiss Aiden Markram in England’s previous fixture against the Proteas was clocked at 47mph, for instance – well below the pace modern mystery-spinners generally operate at in the men’s game.

On the slower pitches of the Caribbean, Rashid really stands out. Rashid is the only non-West Indian in the 16 leading men’s T20I wicket-takers in the Caribbean, featuring as high as fifth on the list. Across 20 T20Is in the West Indies, Rashid averages less than 15 and boasts an economy of almost exactly a run a ball.

England are yet to really hit their stride in this tournament and yet the defending champions are just two matches away from retaining their crown. With Rashid in his groove, they will take some beating even on days when not everything clicks. 

Follow Wisden for all T20 World Cup updates, including live scores, match stats, quizzes and more. Stay up to date with the latest cricket news, player updates, team standings, match highlights and video analysis.