Callum Taylor hopes that England Under-19s set a template for World Cup success with their comfortable warm-up win against South Africa at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Essex’s Norfolk-born all-rounder struggled for runs as the team failed to win a match on their pre-Christmas trip to Sri Lanka, but he hit the ground running in the final preparations for Bangladesh by top-scoring with 78 from 88 balls against the reigning world champions.
Taylor also took a wicket with his medium pace as South Africa were all out for 135 in reply, losing six wickets for a single run as they tumbled from 98 for three to 99 for six.
Yorkshire fast bowler Jared Warner took three of them in his first 11 balls without conceding a run, and Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood – who had opened the bowling with Surrey’s Sam Curran – also ended with eye-catching figures of 4-2-3-2.
“It’s a happy dressing room tonight, and the confidence going into the World Cup will be high,” said Taylor, who made his senior debut for Essex last summer.
“This is probably our first game as a side where we’ve set it up as we’d like, with the players we’ve got coming in down the order.”
Ryan Davies, the wicketkeeper batsman who joined Somerset from Kent last autumn, made 45 from 27 balls until he was run out in the last over, and Curran offered further evidence of his all-round ability with 28 from 27 balls.
“With someone like Ryan to come in at seven or eight the way we he did with five or six overs to go, it was perfect really,” added Taylor.
But it had been very different when he joined Somerset’s George Bartlett in the seventh over, as England had lost three early wickets after being put in.
“It was quite a sticky position at 16 for three, not really the ideal scenario to go in,” he said. “The first five to 10 overs it was quite tough for me and George, getting ourselves in. We both play attacking so we know we can catch up, and we talk a lot as a group of batters about retaining a positive intent.
“We also talk about the importance of partnerships, so to put on 80-plus with George and then another 60 with Nye (Glamorgan’s Aneurin Donald) was a good feeling.
“Sri Lanka didn’t go as we wanted as a team and personally yeah, I wanted to score more runs and I didn’t get as much of an opportunity with the ball as I would have liked.
“To get runs early on this tour is a good feeling, and hopefully I can carry that on in the next two warm-up games leading into the first World Cup one.
“It’s brilliant to have a win. For the first warm-up game here you can’t ask for much more.”
The England team fly to Chittagong on Wednesday for two more warm-up matches, against Namibia and the hosts Bangladesh, before they open their World Cup campaign against Fiji on January 27.