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England's World Cup heartbreak shouldn't undermine remarkable progress

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Despite a heartbreaking defeat in the World T20 final on Sunday, England have a lot they can take out of the tournament, in India.

England looked odds on to win the tournament when West Indies needed 19 off the final over to win. However, Eoin Morgan's men were left stunned when West Indies' Carlos Brathwaite smashed the first four balls for six, off the bowling of Ben Stokes.

Whilst this is a major setback for the England team, as opportunities to win silverware are few and far between, here are three positives to take from the WorldT20 competition:

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1. COMING OF AGE OF NEW PHILOSOPHY

How refreshing was England's aggressive approach to batting? The attacking strategy was a stark contrast to Peter Moores' ill-fated second spell in charge and the disastrous 50-over World Cup.

The test and one-day series against New Zealand last year was the start of the batting revolution, with the England team taking note of Brendon McCullum and his friendly, yet very competitive brand of cricket.

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Morgan & co seemed to subscribe to the Kiwi's philosophy. Whilst this new attitude is still in its infancy, the England team did a lot better than expected; most pundits had written them off.

The shift in attitude was no more evident than against New Zealand, in Delhi. Jason Roy's quick-fire 78 was a master class in attacking cricket. The way that the England man got at the Kiwi bowlers was reminiscent of Gilchrist in his pomp. After seven overs, the match was effectively over with the run rate down and England able to coast home comfortably.

Despite the defeat, England must take heart from a coming of age tournament and persevere with a philosophy ready-made for T20 cricket.

2. IMPROVED DEATH BOWLING (WITH ONE NOTABLE EXCEPTION)

England's bowling at the death has been vastly improved during this tournament. Whilst Stokes' final over contradicts this, the over was the exception rather than the rule.

ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: Final - England v West Indies

During the tournament, England were consistent and accurate in the bowling department. Chris Jordan was particularly impressive. His ability to deliver the wide yorker outside of off-stump was a revelation and a ball that batsman found particularly hard to get away.

In other areas, Ben Stokes held up the end well, although he can be erratic and expensive in periods.

Both Liam Plunkett and David Willey proved they can mix it at this level too. Plunkett had a very steady tournament with the ball, providing England with that extra zip and was particularly tidy throughout.

In David Willey England have something different. The left-armer gave England another dimension and contributed with the bat too.

CRICKET-WT20-2016-TEAM

The ability to bowl tightly in the final overs is particularly important. By limiting the boundaries, England were able to keep chases achievable and stem the flow of their opponents, which put further pressure on them.

An area of improvement here for England would be the deployment of the slower ball. The team failed to vary the pace near the end and keep the batsmen thinking enough.

This was especially relevant in Stokes' final over. The young bowler failed to keep the batsman thinking, through varying the pace and type of delivery. Despite the first delivery, whereby Stokes bowled it just outside the leg stump, Stokes was guilty of bowling it in Brathwaite's slot. Especially with low order batsmen, keep them thinking- bang it in short, in the block-hole, or wide of off-stump.

3. YOUNG CORE HERE TO STAY

What is so refreshing about this team is that it is only really getting started. Whilst they missed a golden opportunity to win a World Cup, they will be encouraged by the performances of many.

In Joe Root, England have Alistair Cook's suitor and a world-class young player and leader. As has so often been the case, the Yorkshire man proved his worth coming in at three and really steadied the ship. This was no more evident than in the final when Root played an assured innings despite wickets tumbling around him.

ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: Final - England v West Indies

Furthermore, Root proved he is no mug in the bowling department, either. In what was an inspired move, Morgan threw him the ball in the second over in the final. Root came up trumps, claiming two wickets -including the prized wicket of West Indies powerhouse Chris Gayle.

In Root, England have a player that they can build their team around, for many years to come.

Elsewhere, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that this team is here to stay. The performances of wicket-keeper Jos Buttler were particularly impressive. A dynamic and explosive batsman who has the ability to really take the game away from the opposition with his exquisite shot-making and raw power.

The England batting line-up goes down a long way, with even Plunkett and Adil Rashid very capable with the bat.

CRICKET-WT20-2016-ENG-NZL

As mentioned, the opening partnership is young and fearless. This bodes well for English cricket and if successful, can destroy the opposition. The way in which Alex Hales stuck around whilst Jason Roy really went to work showed there was a strategy behind the approach and England must continue to be brave.

In Stokes and Willie. England are blessed with two very talented all-rounders. Stokes is hungry, competitive and has shown his class with both bat and ball throughout his short career.

Whilst the Durham all-rounder will be remembered for the wrong reasons from this tournament, he is here to stay.

Whilst it will take some time for the dust to settle, there is plenty for English cricket to be positive about. If England can continue their rapid rate of growth, then success is not too far away.

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Topics:
T20 World Cup
Joe Root
Cricket
England cricket
West Indies cricket
ODI World Cup

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