Adil Rashid believes England are well placed ahead of T20 World Cup defence

Adil Rashid feels England are in a good place ahead of their T20 World Cup defence after a seven-wicket win over Pakistan at the Kia Oval secured a 2-0 victory in the rain-affected Vitality T20 international series.

England’s preparations for the tournament in the Caribbean, which they begin on Tuesday against Scotland, had been affected by washouts in Leeds and Cardiff.

Jofra Archer had marked his eagerly-anticipated international comeback in between those abandonments with a two-wicket display in a 23-run victory at Edgbaston and was joined in the line-up by Mark Wood in south London.

The speed merchants impressed in the capital with Wood able to clock 96mph from his fourth ball before he bounced out Azam Khan and Naseem Shah with wicket deliveries.

Archer, meanwhile, continued his comeback after a string of right elbow issues with the key scalp of Babar Azam for 36, which ultimately sparked a Pakistan collapse from 59 without loss to 157 all out after Rashid claimed two for 27.

The result was never in doubt once Jos Buttler (39) and Phil Salt (45) cracked 82 at the top of the order before Jonny Bairstow steered England home with 27 balls to spare after he smashed three sixes in a 16-ball innings of 28 not out.

England fly out to the Caribbean on Friday morning eager to defend the T20 crown they won in Australia in 2022, especially after a dismal bid to retain their 50-over title in last year’s World Cup in India.

Rashid is a key part of England's attack
Rashid is a key part of England’s attack (PA)

“We feel confident and we’re positive,” Rashid insisted.

“It is different conditions and obvious playing in a tournament there is different pressure as well, but we’re in a good place.

“Hopefully we go out there, stick to our guns, stick to the positivity we have and hopefully we can go a long way.”

Another strong bowling display in south London gives Matthew Mott plenty of reasons to be optimistic with Sam Curran, player of the 2022 World Cup, not required in either victories over Pakistan.

England v Pakistan – Fourth IT20 – The Kia Oval
Jofra Archer has enjoyed success after a while out (PA)

Reece Topley missed out at the Kia Oval, after he claimed a three-fer in Birmingham, but Wood and Archer caught the eye before Rashid, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone did damage in the middle overs.

Livingstone claimed the rare feat of a double-wicket maiden in the 15th over after he dismissed the dangerous Usman Khan for 38 and Shaheen Afridi for a two-ball duck.

Azam Khan claimed the worst duck of the night after his painful innings of five deliveries was ended when a Wood bouncer flicked off his glove and thudded into his shoulder before Buttler took a simple catch.

Rashid added: “It was a bit wet, the ball was flying through and seeing Jof and Woody, when you watch them bowl it is exciting.

“Seeing the ball zip off the pitch, the keeper taking it really high and it’s exciting to have two quality, world-class bowlers in our squad.

“As a unit I thought we bowled exceptionally well. I know they got off to a great start, but that’s T20 cricket. It happens a lot.

“The first powerplay they might go for 50 or 60, but in the middle and the end, we came back well with spin and the seamers came back very well as well.”

It was then over to the England batters to provide fireworks, which they did after Salt and Buttler combined to take 25 runs off Naseem’s second over.

Both missed out on a half-century after Haris Rauf led a brief Pakistan fightback with three wickets, but Bairstow and Harry Brook put on an unbeaten stand of 46 to earn the defending champions a much-needed series win.

England beat Pakistan in the 2022 showpiece, but captain Babar defended the preparations of his team after they enter this tournament with four wins from 12 T20 matches since April.

“When you play a big tournament, your confident is always high,” Babar said.

“Our confidence is still high and we will try our best.”