England fail to shine in summer finale but limited-overs future remains bright


England has hardly been gripped by soaring temperatures in recent months but where the weather has disappointed, the nation's white-ball cricketers have heated things up with regularity during the British summer.

Eoin Morgan's men have carried on where they left off in a ICC World Twenty20 campaign that ended in an agonising defeat brought about by Carlos Brathwaite's final-over blitz.

Indeed, England beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in the ODI series and claimed the spoils in the only T20, before pummelling Pakistan 4-1 across five 50-over contests.

Their scarcely believable world-record ODI score of 444-3 in the third match served as a further illustration of the transformation undergone by a team that was knocked out of the 2015 World Cup in the pool stage by Bangladesh.

But, as England's international summer drew to a close underneath the Old Trafford floodlights, it was Pakistan who shone brightest in a stunning demonstration of Twenty20 cricket.

Undone by the marvellous performance of Imad Wasim and the sheer pace of Wahab Riaz, who regularly clocked over 90 miles per hour on the speedometer, England's heroes of their record-breaking showing - Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Joe Root - failed to make an impression as the hosts limped to 135-7.

Pakistan were devastating in their response, with half-centuries from Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif powering them to victory with 31 balls to spare, leaving captain Morgan to field questions on whether England still have some way to go in limited-overs cricket despite their obvious progress.

"I think there's always a fair way to go," Morgan said in a media conference. 

"I still believe we are on an upward curve in our progression as a side, in 50-over and T20 cricket."

Morgan is justified in his belief, and the results tell their own story.

In addition to this year's exploits against Sri Lanka and Pakistan and at the World T20, England won the ODI series with World Cup finalists New Zealand last year before narrowly losing out to world champions Australia and semi-finalists South Africa - defeats that were sandwiched by ODI and T20 series wins over Pakistan in the UAE.

What is clear is that England can match the established powers of international limited-overs cricket and will have further chances to test themselves over the next nine months.

England are due to tour Bangladesh, though the team may be depleted due to concerns over security, and will also play series with India, West Indies, Ireland and South Africa prior to the Champions Trophy, a tournament in which they suffered another agonising defeat in the final to India back in 2013.

With the likes of Ben Duckett, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Tom Westley pushing for places with strong domestic performances, England have the resources to contend with that hectic schedule and any withdrawals from the Bangladesh tour.

"We do have a lot of strength in depth, guys are being hard done by by being left out but that's part and parcel of playing in a very good side," Morgan added.

"I think when you speak of the likes of Ben Duckett, who hasn't had an opportunity yet, I think that creates quite a healthy environment because you still have James Vince missing out, whenever he's been given a chance has done really well [and] has been hard done by to miss out on the one-day series and the T20 series.

"Down the line you can go Bell-Drummond, Tom Westley, who are piling on runs, which is brilliant, but we're a very strong side."

The evidence backs up that England are a very strong side and, though their summer may have ended with a damp squib, they have talent in the team and waiting in the wings to fire on all cylinders once again in the coming months.