England face Pakistan in T20 World Cup warm-up series

If being World Cup holders didn’t add enough pressure, all eyes will be on England this summer as they look to put a disastrous 50-over World Cup campaign behind them.

Matthew Mott and Jos Buttler’s side looked toothless in India last autumn and will be looking to avoid embarrassment when the T20 edition commences next month. In preparation for the tournament, they’ll face Pakistan in a four-match series on home soil in what will be a rematch of the final that saw England become world champions in 2022.

England v Pakistan T20 series

●    Wednesday 22nd May – Headingley
●    Saturday 25th May – Edgbaston
●    Tuesday 28th May – Sophia Gardens
●    Thursday 30th May – Kia Oval

With the weather finally changing for the better, we’re set for four days of glorious cricket and you can enjoy the action from the best seats in the house with Engage’s exclusive hospitality packages. And if you’re in the mood for more cricket, there are plenty more opportunities to watch in style later in the year.

The four matches will give us a good indication of what to expect when the World Cup kicks off in June. The 15-man provisional squad has already been selected but with the official deadline not for another few weeks, England’s managing director Rob Key has stressed that there could still be changes.

Pakistan are also looking to build some momentum as they prepare for the World Cup. They performed slightly better than England in India last autumn despite losing to them, winning four of their matches, but they only finished fifth, narrowly missing out on a spot in the semi-finals.

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Archer returns but Stokes misses out

While England will be looking to knock themselves into form, one man will be using the warm-up games to prove his fitness. After more than a year in the wilderness due to a long-term elbow injury, Jofra Archer is set to make his return to the international stage.

The fast bowler was a key part of England’s 50-over World Cup win in 2019 but he missed out on the T20 format. Archer was also absent for last summer’s thrilling Ashes series with Australia and following England’s dismal showing on their last World Cup appearance, Buttler will be hoping the 29-year-old’s return can galvanise his side.

Elsewhere, Chris Jordan is also back in the squad after missing out on the winter tour to the West Indies. The bowler has been picked ahead of Chris Woakes, while Jamie Overton misses out with injury. Spin bowler Tom Hartley is also included, despite never playing for England in a T20 international.

At the top of the order, England look strong with the likes of Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Will Jacks all impressive with the bat in the IPL. For so long, England have relied on Ben Stokes to rescue them with some magic but somebody else will have to step up this time. The Test captain will not be on the plane having asked not to be considered as he recovers from a knee operation.

As England look to mix things up in an effort to avoid a repeat of what happened in India, one casualty is Dawid Malan. The experienced batsman struggled at the World Cup and misses out on the squad.

While in previous years these warm-up games would have been seen as just that, this time it’s different. England are a force in world cricket and they’ll be desperate to prove just that heading into the World Cup. Poor results against Pakistan may not mean anything in theory, but they could have disastrous consequences if they breed another embarrassing campaign.

Provisional England T20 squad

Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

When is the T20 World Cup?

The tournament in the West Indies and USA gets underway on Sunday 2nd June, with the American hosts taking on neighbours Canada in the opening fixture. England will also be facing local rivals in their first game and there will no doubt be plenty of sun cream in use as they face Scotland in Barbados.

Buttler and co. will also play Oman and Namibia in the group stage, as well as old rivals Australia, who won the 50-over World Cup last year. Meanwhile, Pakistan will face hosts USA, India, Canada and Ireland.

They’re targeting their second T20 World Cup win, having claimed the trophy in the competition’s second edition, beating Sri Lanka in the final at Lord’s back in 2009. They’ve lost twice in the final, including against England last time out.

Should England progress through their group, they’ll need to navigate their way through the Super 8s group, followed by the semi-finals. The final takes place on Saturday 29th June.

Looking ahead to a summer of cricket

Cricket and summer go hand-in-hand in England and a manic period of top-class action is on the horizon. We’re very much in the calm before the storm, with an explosion of both domestic and international cricket around the corner.

With England scheduled to play in all formats, as well as the return of The Hundred and the T20 Blast, here’s everything you need to know.

A busy summer awaits for England

After a thrilling summer of cricket last year that saw England narrowly miss out on reclaiming the Ashes, we’re set for another exciting few months. England will be busy in all formats both on home soil and further afield.

First up, they take on Pakistan in a T20 series in May that will serve as a warm-up for the World Cup the following month. Four matches at Headingley, Edgbaston, Sophia Gardens and The Oval await, which should give Matthew Mott and Jos Buttler a good idea of how the squad is shaping up.

Pakistan will provide a strong test in anticipation of the tournament, where England will be hoping to retain their crown. The two sides met in the final last time out, with England coming out on top in Australia.

Following the World Cup, which takes place in the West Indies and United States, it’s the return of Bazball. Brendon McCullum, Ben Stokes and co. will bring their exciting style back to wow cricket fans in two home Test series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka.

They’ll be looking to win the Richards-Botham Trophy for the first time, which is awarded to the winner of their Test clashes against the West Indies. It replaced the Wisden Trophy, which was the prize up until 2020.

The pair last met in this format across 2021 and 2022, with West Indies coming out on top. They claimed the series after winning the third and final Test, with the first two matches drawn. This time, it’s England’s turn to host, with the three matches in July taking place at Lord’s, Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

Following that, England will then take on Sri Lanka in another three Test matches. First up they’ll play at Old Trafford in August, before heading to the capital in September for matches at Lord’s and The Oval.

Sri Lanka last played a Test in England in 2016, which the hosts comfortably won. England also won the following two Tests between the two, which took place in Sri Lanka.

The fun doesn’t stop there as England will end the season with a white-ball series against old foes Australia. The two will meet in the World Cup group stage and they’re set for a rematch, with a quickfire triple T20 series across five days at the Ageas Bowl, Sophia Gardens and Old Trafford.

They’ll then meet in five ODI matches, where Australia will be heavy favourites having claimed the World Cup at the backend of last year. They start at Trent Bridge before heading north to Headingley and Riverside. The series then goes to Lord’s before finishing at the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol.

England's Test Cricket team play at Emirates Old Trafford

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Can England retain the T20 World Cup?

The ninth edition of the T20 World Cup heads to the West Indies and United States in June and England are looking to claim a record third title. They’re the reigning champions, having beaten Pakistan in the final two years ago thanks to a 52 not out from Stokes.

They’ll be hoping to improve their white-ball performances following a disappointing ODI World Cup display last year. England finished seventh with a poor showing in India, winning just three of their nine games.

The tournament has expanded from 16 teams to 20 and England have been drawn in Group B. They come up against fierce rivals Scotland in their opening match on 4th June before they face their biggest group test against the Aussies in their second game.

England will also come up against Namibia and Oman. The top two from each group progress to a Super 8s group, where again the top two will progress to the semi-finals. There’s a lot of cricket to play before the final in Barbados on 29th June – will England make it there? Fingers crossed!

It’s party time with the Hundred and T20 Blast!

If you’re a fan of cricket with a party atmosphere, we’ve got good news – it’s not long until The Hundred and the T20 Blast get back underway. The Hundred is heading into its fourth edition and the new 100-ball format has proved to be a smash hit with cricket fans.

Last year saw Southern Brave finally win the women’s title, having lost the previous two finals to Oval Invincibles. Meanwhile, Oval Invincibles claimed their first men’s title, conedming Manchester Originals to their second consecutive final defeat.

Join us for all the double header action at Lord’s and The Oval, including the final on Sunday 18th August.

The T20 Blast is also nearing a return and we’ve got exclusive hospitality packages available for all of Middlesex’s games at Lord’s. Plus, you can join us in the best seats in the house for Finals Day at Edgbaston on 14th September.

India v England: Can England bounce back?

England’s Test series continues in India this week and following a disappointing showing last time out, Brendan McCullum’s side are looking to bounce back in style. A shock win to kick off the series gave England hope of causing an upset but India ultimately showed their class, winning the second and third Tests with relative ease.

But with two matches left to play, England remain confident and will be looking to reward the fans that have travelled with something to shout about, as well as make the 4am starts for those of us back home worth it.

The story so far

Given India haven’t lost a Test series at home for 12 years, there wasn’t too much optimism for England going into the series. Yet, as we have often seen with Bazball, McCullum’s side were able to spring a surprise in the opener.

In one of England’s best ever away victories, they stunned the hosts, winning a dramatic first Test by 28 runs. Ollie Pope stole the show with the bat, bouncing back from a solitary run in the first innings to show his class, producing a stunning 196 to record England’s second-highest ever score in a second innings in India.

And it wasn’t just Pope’s runs that made the difference. Lancashire bowler Tom Hartley was a surprise inclusion in the side but a magnificent 7-62 on his debut left India stunned. Hartley’s first ball in Test cricket was knocked for six but he shook off his early nerves to deliver an iconic performance.

While confidence was high in the England camp following the first Test, it didn’t take long for India to bring them back down to earth. They’ve lost just three of their previous 46 home Tests and they soon showed why.

They set England a target of 399 on their second innings and what would have been one of their greatest-ever run chases proved too much. India ultimately won by 106 runs, thanks in large part to opener Yashavi Jaiswal’s phenomenal first innings 209, which included seven sixes.

If India’s performance in the second Test didn’t shock England, they soon made up for it. The third match in the series was about as one-sided as you can get, with the visitors struggling to compete in Rajkot.

The hosts set a strong target of 445 and while England didn’t disgrace themselves in reply, securing 319 thanks to Ben Duckett’s 153, there was still a lot of work to do. But their hopes of a famous upset were soon over before they’d even started.

Jaiswal picked up where he left off, recording 214 not out as India declared, leaving England with a daunting target of 557. A pitiful batting response saw them bowled out for 122, with Mark Wood the only batsman to surpass 20 runs.

It was the biggest win in India’s history and England’s worst defeat for 90 years. Their only slim saving grace is that it surely can’t get any worse for the rest of the series.

England target historic turnaround

The fourth Test gets underway in Ranchi in the early hours of tomorrow and something needs to change following the capitulation last time out. McCullum has named Ollie Robinson in the side for the first time this series, while Shoaib Bashir is back after missing the previous Test.

Rehan Ahmed and Wood miss out from the bowling line-up, which could include Stokes for the first time since his knee surgery in November. The England captain has been seen bowling in the nets and there’s a chance he returns with the ball in hand in a bid to turn his side’s fortunes around.

Stokes has already commented on the conditions of the pitch in Ranchi, which is showing cracks on either side of the wicket before a ball has been bowled. The series has been unpredictable to say the least so far and the quality of the pitch may yet lead to further twists and turns.

While we don’t know what will happen on the pitch, one thing that’s certain is that England won’t make drastic changes to their approach and style of play. Since McCullum and Stokes took the reins, they’ve stuck to their Bazball principles for good and for bad.

Their full throttle, aggressive play looks great when it works, as we saw in the first Test, while it has the potential to lead to embarrassment when it doesn’t quite go England’s way. But with the players conditioned to it and raring to go, there’s every chance that it can yield another iconic result and cause an historic upset in the remaining two Tests of the series.

Looking ahead to a summer of cricket

Regardless of the result, it’s fair to say English cricket is alive and kicking right now and a strong performance in the final two Tests will really whet the appetite for the rest of 2024.

Ahead of the T20 World Cup, England host Pakistan in a warm-up series in May as they look to bounce back from a disappointing showing in last year’s ODI World Cup. Bazball will then be back in action as England host the West Indies and Sri Lanka in two Test series on home soil.

And the action continues well into September, with Australia visiting to take on England in a T20 and ODI series. To see all the action from the best seats in the house, enquire about our exclusive hospitality packages today.

Flying start to England’s tour of India

England’s Cricket team kicked off 2024 with a heart-stopping test victory over Indian in Hyderabad. In a 28 run victory that went down to the wire, they began their tour of India in impressive style. A thrilling encounter saw stunning displays from Ollie Pope with the bat and debutant Tom Hartley with the ball. Ben Stokes termed the test match win as the best since he became captain.

However, it wasn’t all plain-sailing for England. The tourists found themselves in difficulty after a first innings deficit of 190, but it was Ollie Pope’s second innings display of 196 that anchored England into position to snatch the result from the hosts, setting them 231 to win. The work wasn’t done yet though, as Tom Hartley, in his test debut, outdid the Indians on their own pitch as his 7-62 sealed the victory for Ben Stokes’ side.

Described by many as one of England’s best ever away wins, they began their tour of India with a fairly average first innings having been 155-7 at one point. That was before a trademark Ben Stokes rally saw them surpass 240 before being the last man out.

India came out to bat, high on confidence after a good bowling display and they batted like it. With Jaiswal, Rahul and Jadeja all hitting over 80 runs, England were on the ropes as the Indians posted 436 with a lead of 190.

In the second innings, it was looking pretty miserable for England once again as they slipped to 163-5. That was until Ollie Pope stepped up with arguably the best innings from an overseas player on an Indian pitch, scoring 196 to stabilise the ship for the tourists. England were 420 all out with India needing 231 to win.

So, could the home side do it? Well England came out firing with Tom Hartley taking the first four wickets of the innings to have the hosts 95-4. There was further misery for India as they slipped to 119-7 with the 6th wicket being courtesy of some brilliant Ben Stokes fielding to run Ravindra Jadeja out much to his side’s dismay. However, a 56-run eighth-wicket stand sparked a glimmer of hope and was enough to heighten England nerves. With that said, ultimately it was Tom Hartley’s spin bowling that sealed the victory, seeing India’s final wicket tumble on 202. The debutant finished on superb figures of 7-62.

Hartley is only the sixth player ever to take a seven-wicket haul on debut and the first Englishmen since Dominic Cork in 1955 against the West Indies. Only 24 years of age, Hartley certainly stamped his name in the mind’s of selectors as the spinner looks to cement his place for the remainder of the tour and beyond. Not to mention, his first delivery of the game was smashed over the rope for six; not the warmest of welcomes to test cricket.

A 28 run victory for The Tourists sets Ben Stokes and his side up well for the remainder of the series, with a journey east awaiting them on Friday, as they travel to Visakhapatnam for the second test. It’s safe to say, morale in the England camp will be high and they will be confident of another victory on the Asian continent to once again unsettle the home side.

Can England go 2-0 up in the series? Or will India be more eager to get revenge? Either way, this series has all the hallmarks of a thrilling contest and perhaps a classic. Want to see England play live from the best seats in the house this summer? Check out Engage Hospitality’s range of options to watch the cricket in style.

England’s disastrous Cricket World Cup defence

Following a wonderful summer of cricket that included one of the best Ashes series in recent memory and another thrilling campaign in The Hundred, fans were eagerly anticipating the World Cup in India.

As reigning champions, England went into the tournament with reasonable expectations, particularly after an emphatic ODI series win over New Zealand.

But it’s been nothing short of a disaster. England have lost five of their six matches so far and sit rooted to the bottom of the table. With three matches to go, Jos Buttler and co. have a job on their hands to avoid complete embarrassment.

England drop the ball

Despite coming out on top in their warm-up ODI series against New Zealand, England failed to continue their form in India. Matthew Mott’s side met the Kiwis in the opening game of the tournament in a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final.

But they couldn’t repeat history and were humiliated, losing by nine wickets. Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra barely broke a sweat as they combined for an unbeaten 283 to chase down England with 13.4 overs left.

England bounced back in their second game, scoring an impressive 364/9 to beat Bangladesh by 137 runs. The top order showed their class, as Dawid Malan hit a stunning 140 while Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root both notched half centuries.

But things went downhill after that and England have suffered four successive defeats. They narrowly lost to Afghanistan before a pitiful display against South Africa saw them bowled out for 170 in just 22 overs.

Not even the return of 2019 World Cup hero Ben Stokes could inspire them, with the all-rounder notching just five in his first game back from injury.

Whether they’ve now given up or are simply in a horrendous slump of form remains to be seen, but they’ve since added to their woes with defeats to Sri Lanka and India, being bowled out for 156 and 129 respectively.

England will finish their World Cup campaign with matches against Australia, the Netherlands and Pakistan and they’ll be targeting three wins, for pride if nothing else. The Aussies started the tournament poorly and looked to be the whipping boys but they’ve turned things around, allowing England to claim that title.

India have won all six of their games on home soil so far and look in good shape to win their third World Cup title. Meanwhile, South Africa currently top the table, although they’ve played a game more than the hosts.

Where has it gone wrong for England?

It’s more complicated than just saying ‘England haven’t been good enough’, but they’ve not helped themselves. England haven’t just lost the majority of their World Cup matches – they’ve been demolished.

Not only have they failed to reach 200 runs in three of their games, they’ve only recorded one century and four half centuries in six games. These figures don’t scream ‘defending World Cup champions’ and they demonstrate a lack of players willing to take a game by the scruff of the neck, much like Stokes did four years ago.

This may boil down to poor preparation. Joe Root has already demanded England put more focus on 50-over cricket if they want to enjoy future success. They played just 16 ODIs in the year leading up to the World Cup and even in those matches, a large proportion of the final squad weren’t involved.

Compare that to unbeaten India, who played almost double the amount of matches, with nine of those taking place in September of this year to ensure momentum going into the World Cup.

Elsewhere, the make-up of England’s squad needs refreshing. Eight of the current squad were also involved in 2019 and are all the wrong side of 30, as are Dawid Malan and David Willey. That’s 10 players that likely won’t be in contention for the 2027 squad, meaning a huge overhaul is on the horizon.

Only four players in the current squad are under the age of 30, which doesn’t give much hope to up and coming youngsters. Harry Brook forced his way into the side following a strong run of form in The Hundred and perhaps more players need to be rewarded for their performances, rather than being an automatic pick due to familiarity.

Remarkably, England aren’t mathematically out of the World Cup, meaning a bizarre set of circumstances would see them progress to the semi-finals. Realistically, it’s only a matter of time before they’re eliminated.

With three games left, England have the chance to forge where they see their future in white-ball cricket. And with the T20 World Cup getting underway in just seven months, it may be wise for them to start their preparation early in order to avoid another disaster.

Despite the disappointment of the World Cup, there’s still plenty of cricket to look forward to in 2024, including England’s Test series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka, The Hundred, the T20 Blast. Join us for another year of thrilling action from the best seats in the house with Engage’s exclusive hospitality packages.

Looking back on a splendid summer of cricket

The Cricket World Cup gets underway this week and following a sensational few months of cricket, we’ve taken a look back at the highs (and lows!) of a memorable summer of sport.

An Ashes series to remember

A summer of British cricket wouldn’t have been the same without the Ashes and this year’s series certainly delivered. England were looking to win the famous urn for the first time since 2015 and were entering a new era, with new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

With timeless moments including England’s early declaration at Edgbaston, Jonny Bairstow’s controversial dismissal at Lord’s and Stuart Broad’s fairytale farewell, it will be a series that lives long in the memory.

It didn’t quite start the way we had hoped, with Australia racing into a 2-0 lead following the first two Tests. Stokes’ decision to declare at 393 on the first day of the series was a bold risk that ultimately didn’t pay off – but it was a glimpse at our new aggressive philosophy.

The following Test saw Alex Carey stump Bairstow, who had left his crease under the impression that the ball was dead. The incident sparked controversy, leading to suggestions that it wasn’t in the spirit of the game.

Nevertheless, it left a sour taste in England’s mouths and motivated them more than ever. The hosts went into the third Test looking to become the first team to win an Ashes series from 2-0 since Australia in 1937.

A routine win at Headingley halved the deficit and England looked like they were on their way to levelling the series at Old Trafford. A phenomenal 189 from Zak Crawley put them in the ascendancy but in typical British fashion, the rain ruined the party. The match was brought to a close, meaning Australia retained the Ashes by default.

England were still desperate to level the series at The Oval in the final Test and thankfully, the scriptwriters ensured it was a fairytale finish. Broad, who had announced his retirement prior to the match, smashed Mitchell Starc for six in his final ever shot in Test cricket.

And the bowling legend went out in style, dismissing Carey with his final ever delivery to win England the match. While the result of the Ashes may have been ultimately disappointing, England played their part in delivering one of the best summers of Test cricket in recent memory.

Traditional cricket fans may still be getting their heads around ‘Bazball’ but the future under Stokes and McCullum is very bright.

Guests enjoy hospitality at the Kia Oval during England's ODI win over New Zealand in September 2023.

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Oval Invincibles win The Hundred

There was barely time for us all to catch our breath following the Ashes as we jumped straight into the third season of The Hundred. The 100-ball franchise format raised eyebrows when it was first introduced but this year’s edition saw record viewing figures in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

Oval Invincibles claimed their first men’s title, winning six times and losing just once as they finished top of the group stage. The franchise based at The Oval saw off Manchester Originals in the final at Lord’s, but they didn’t find it easy.

Led by captain Sam Billings, they got off to a tricky start and found themselves at 34-5. But Sam Curran, the IPL’s most expensive player in history, teamed up with Jimmy Neesham to claw back the runs and bring the title to south London.

Despite being on the losing side, Jos Buttler smashed the record for most runs in a season as he finished with 391. And after a promising Ashes showing, Harry Brooks’ stunning 105 not out from 42 balls for Northern Superchargers against Welsh Fire put him in contention for England’s World Cup squad.

Unlike the men, the Oval Invincibles women’s side weren’t able to claim their third consecutive title. They were among the favourites prior to the competition but four defeats in the group stage saw them finish fifth.

Southern Brave topped the table thanks in large part to Danni Wyatt, who finished the season as the highest runs scorer. The Hampshire-based side won seven of their eight group stage matches and sailed into the final.

They met Northern Superchargers at Lord’s, who advanced after the eliminator match was called off due to rain. In a tight final showdown, Southern Brave eventually won by 34 runs to claim their first championship, having lost in the previous two finals.

Fans spectate at Lord's Cricket Ground under the media centre

England prepare for World Cup with New Zealand series

In preparation for the World Cup, England went toe-to-toe with New Zealand in a white ball series, facing off in four T20 matches and four one-day internationals.

The T20 series started positively as England went 2-0 up but a limp performance in the third match at Edgbaston saw the visitors halve the deficit. And in the final match, New Zealand destroyed England with ease.

Despite Bairstow’s best efforts, scoring 73 runs from 41 balls, New Zealand claimed a six-wicket victory to tie the series at 2-2.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse as England surrendered the opening ODI, losing by eight wickets as Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway both scored centuries. But England knocked themselves into form and turned their fortunes around, winning the next three matches to comfortably claim the series.

Having come out of ODI retirement ahead of the World Cup, it was Stokes that stole the show in the third contest at The Oval. he scored 182 as England won by 181 runs, setting a new record for the most runs in a one-day match.

And in the final game of the series, Dawid Malan was in fine form, scoring 127 as England won by 100 runs.

Can England retain their World Cup crown?

The Cricket World Cup is just a few days away and England are looking to continue their momentum in their opening match against New Zealand.

The defending champions defeated the Kiwis in a dramatic super over back in 2019 and Stokes will be looking to recreate the magic of that tournament as he steps up to the crease in India. It may well be the all-rounder’s final one-day involvement for England – although we’ve heard that before!

England will take part in nine group stage matches, with the top four teams progressing through to the semi-finals. We’ve announced a strong squad, with Brook coming in to replace Jason Roy despite initially missing out.

As well as Stokes, Buttler will have the likes of Bairstow, Malan and Joe Root to rely on for runs, alongside the bowling strength of Curran, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Gus Atkinson.

Jonnie Irwin cherishes ‘highlight of the summer’ with Engage

We were delighted to see British TV presenter Jonnie Irwin enjoying his day out within our hospitality facility at the Kia Oval this week whilst he continues to bravely battle terminal cancer.

The beloved presenter rose to fame when he was selected to host Channel 4s ‘A Place in the Sun’ and has been a staple on our TV sets ever since when working with the BBC to present episodes of ‘Escape to the Country’ and ‘To Buy or Not To Buy.’

However, for the last few years Irwin has been heroically battling terminal cancer in his lungs, admitting on Instagram recently that he been feeling pretty unwell this summer.

Determined to make the most of his experiences, Irwin looked in good health whilst thoroughly enjoying his day out at the cricket alongside friend and former domestic cricketer Ryan Sidebottom at the Kia Oval.

Joining us in within our Live hospitality, Irwin watched on in the warm September sunshine as Ben Stokes put on a batting masterclass to hit a record ODI score.

Heading into the fixture the ODI series was evenly poised at 1-1, and the day looked like it was going to be a long one for England fans after Jonny Bairstow was removed after the first ball.

The hosts were able to recover though through an impressive partnership between Dawid Malan and Ben Stokes, with the latter going on to make England’s highest ODI score after a mesmerising knock of 182 runs. The skipper Jos Buttler added a further 38 to take his side into a commanding position which eventually saw them win by a mammoth 181 runs on a beautiful day in London.

Commenting on Instagram after the match, the presenter wrote: “Had the best day in awesome company thanks to @ryansidebottom_official and @engagegroup_uk who made the whole experience a massive highlight of my summer.”

Throughout the day we were also joined by other famous faces within our hospitality facility, including the ICC’s number one World Test Batsman, Kane Williamson, who happily mingled and took pictures with guests whilst he continues to recover from a knee injury.

At Engage we are thrilled that Jonnie Irwin cherished his experience with us at the cricket and, like everyone connected with him, are inspired by the way continues to approach his own personal battle.

England look to build momentum in ODI series


The Ashes may be a distant memory but the spirit of cricket lives on and we’re in the midst of a fascinating few months of white-ball action. England endured a mixed T20 series against New Zealand and the pair are set to lock horns again this week.

With the ODI World Cup just around the corner, there’s still plenty that England can do to improve, while there may well be one or two spots in the squad to be filled.

England face India in a One Day International at Lord's Cricket Ground

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England throw T20 series away with limp performances

As England went home for the evening last Friday, they’d have been forgiven for thinking they had their T20 series against New Zealand wrapped up. Two convincing wins at the Riverside Ground and Old Trafford had them 2-0 up and playing with confidence.

But things are never that easy with England. New Zealand came out firing in the third clash at Edgbaston and thanks to half centuries from Finn Allen and Glenn Phillips, they were too much for the hosts, despite captain Jos Buttler’s valiant efforts.

And the final match on Tuesday went to the visitors as well, with New Zealand levelling the series with an imperious six-wicket thrashing. Jonny Bairstow tried his best as he led the charge, smashing home an impressive 73 from 41 balls.

But following his dismissal, his team-mates failed to continue that momentum and once New Zealand’s spinners took charge, the wickets quickly fell. Despite a disappointing end to the series, England looked strong at points and they’ll be looking to take the positives as they gear up for a four-game ODI series against the same opponents.

And while their immediate attention will be on their next clash with the Kiwis and the imminent ODI World Cup, England will have one eye on the T20 World Cup. They’re the current holders and based on the evidence of the last week, they’ll need to improve massively if they want to defend their title in the United States and West Indies next summer.


Harry Brook keeps World Cup dream alive

It’s been a season of ups and downs in all cricket formats for Yorkshire batsman Brook. The 24-year-old impressed during England’s summer Ashes series against Australia before showing his class for the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred.

But Ben Stokes’ retirement U-turn saw Brook miss out on England’s provisional squad for the ODI World Cup. Not one to let setbacks derail his performances, Brook has continued to graft in recent weeks – and his perseverance may have paid off.

Following a 41-ball century in The Hundred, Brook recorded scores of 43 and 67 in the opening two T20 clashes with New Zealand. And he’s been given the chance to impress further after being added to the squad for the ODI series, which gets underway tomorrow.

England coach Matthew Mott says the door is still open for him to make the squad, with changes permitted up until 28th September. It’s now up to Brook to prove his worth and he’ll undoubtedly be relishing the opportunity, starting in Cardiff on Friday.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 09: England bowler Sam Curran in bowling action during the second Vitality IT20 match between England and India at Edgbaston on July 09, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) 1407727112 cricket

Can New Zealand avenge World Cup final heartbreak?

Following the T20 series, there’s no time to rest as England and New Zealand get straight back into the action. It’s the first time the Kiwis will take part in a 50-over on British soil since they lost in the World Cup final at Lord’s back in 2019 following a dramatic super over.

That day will live long in the memory, with the scores tied after 50 overs at 241 runs each, the game went to a one over showdown. Stokes and Buttler returned to the crease for England, managing 15 runs for England from 6 balls.

Spectacularly New Zealand also managed 15 runs from their super over, meaning the decider was the amount of boundaries scored in bth teams innings, with England clinching the World Cup after having 26 boundaries to the Kiwi’s 17.

Ben Stokes, the man of the match that day, has reversed his ODI retirement to make a comeback for the upcoming games so it is expected he will also be in the World Cup squad, trying to recreate his heroics again.

Both sides will be looking to knock themselves into form ahead of the next World Cup, which gets underway in India on 5th October.

As well as Brook, Brydon Carse is also looking to stake a claim for the squad having initially been left out. The 28-year-old impressed in the T20 series, taking four wickets in the opening two matches.

England vs New Zealand ODI series:

●      Friday 8th September – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff

●      Sunday 10th September – The Ageas Bowl, Southampton

●      Wednesday 13th September – Kia Oval, London

●      Friday 15th September – Lord’s London

Following the four-day series against New Zealand, England will take on Ireland over three matches before heading out to India with ambitions of retaining their World Cup crown.

Oval Invincibles keep up their winning streak at The Hundred

Having won the women’s competition in each of the first two editions, the Oval Invincibles were able to maintain their winning run at The Hundred with a dominant performance to secure their first men’s title. Meanwhile, the women’s competition continued to bring in record-breaking crowds as the Southern Brave blew away the competition to lift the trophy.

Glory for the Oval Invincibles and Southern Brave

In an edition of The Hundred that saw more close finishes and showcased the depth of talent the UK has to offer, it was the Oval Invincibles who made the short trip across the Thames to Lord’s to secure their first men’s title – and third in total for the franchise having won both the first two titles in the women’s competition.

Helped by a strong core of players who share a dressing room during the county cricket season with Surrey, the franchise based in South London were head and shoulders above the rest of competition in the league stage but found themselves in trouble at 34-5 in the final against the Manchester Originals. However, a strong partnership between Tom Curran and Jimmy Neesham led the fight back for the Invincibles who won the title with a 14-run victory.

The Southern Brave also outclassed the rest of their competition on the way to winning the women’s competition. Having already lost two finals the Brave looked to be on a mission to go one better right from the outset of the tournament, recording 7 wins out of their 8 matches in the group stage.

Danni Wyatt led the way ruthlessly with the bat in the final before Lauren Bell and Kalea Moore both took three wickets to ensure they made no mistake this time on the way to lifting the trophy at the Northen Supercharger’s expense.

With ticket sales, TV audiences and online views all up this year and England’s star players all backing the benefits of the franchise competition, the 2023 edition has enjoyed greater success on and off the pitch in what was arguably the most enjoyable campaign of The Hundred to date.

An edition of The Hundred full of standout performances

As a whole the tournament was able to showcase the depth of elite talent that England have at their disposal heading into a hectic 12 months of cricket that includes a Cricket World Cup, a T20 World Cup and multiple Test Series’.

Harry Brook – who had been left out of England’s World Cup squad just days before – played arguably the standout innings of this year’s tournament. A destructive 105 not out off just 42 balls was an extraordinary summary of the talent the 24-year-old possess and offered fans in attendance another glimpse into the exciting future of English cricket.

The incredible display, however, was not enough to keep his team the Northern Superchargers from finishing bottom, just behind the London Spirit who slumped to seventh after a poor start and a couple of games washed out by rain.

England’s white-ball captain Jos Buttler also continued to lead by example as he ended the competition as the leading run scorer with the Manchester Originals. With a total of 391 runs he set a new record for most runs in a season and will be hoping to keep that form going into the World Cup this October.

In the bowling department, his teammate Calvin Harrison stole the show with the best bowling figures recorded in the men’s Hundred when he took 5-11 to help the Originals finish second.

Meanwhile the Southern Brave had an unforgettable season in the bowling departments. All-rounder Georgia Adams finished comfortably above any other bowler in the women’s competition, taking 16 wickets on the way to winning the title. In the men’s competition Tymal Mill also impressed with his pace bowling and effective variations. His breathtaking hat trick for the Brave against the Welsh Fire was the highlight of an exceptional season in which he ended on top of the men’s wicket taking column too.

What’s up next on the calendar?

Following the conclusion of The Hundred, England now turn their attention to preparing for October’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup with important T20 and ODI series’ against New Zealand.

England announced their provisional team for the 2023 World Cup with the notable inclusion of Ben Stokes who has come back out of one-day retirement to play at the World Cup in India this Autumn.

Spectators view from the stands at Lord's Cricket Ground
Lord’s Cricket Ground will host the final ODI between England and New Zealand on Friday 15 September

The news did stir some debate amongst fans due to the omission of Harry Brook to make way for England’s star man, meaning all eyes will be on the performances of Stokes and the rest of the English batting line-up.

Elsewhere in the squad Joe Root helped his cause for being included in the ODI team with some impressive performances in The Hundred – including an impressive unbeaten 72 for the Trent Rockets at Lord’s against London Spirit. Looking to make his mark within England’s white ball setup, the legendary Yorkshire batsman also enjoyed a spell with the Rajasthan Royals at the IPL in the spring and looks to be in good touch just at the right time.

Sam Curran, Jason Roy and England’s surprise pick Gus Atkinson all come out of The Hundred full of confidence too having been a part of the victorious Oval Invincibles side. Along with the backbone of the England squad, including Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, they will be looking to entertain fans once again across country at venues such as Emirates Old Trafford, Lord’s and The Kia Oval against New Zealand. 

England v New Zealand T20 Series

England v New Zealand ODI Series

‘Bazball’ may not have won the Ashes but the future is bright

It may have been a typical British summer in terms of the weather but when it comes to cricket, it’s been uncharacteristically fun. Despite England not managing to win the Ashes, the all-out attacking style of ‘Bazball’ has made Test cricket enjoyable again and delivered one of the greatest series in recent history.

A thrilling final day in the fifth Test at The Oval saw a Stuart Broad inspired England win to level the series at 2-2. Australia ultimately retained the famous urn but it was important for Brendan McCullum that his side didn’t go down without a fight – and it could have been so different had the fourth Test not been ruined by the rain.

While it may not be traditional, there’s rarely a dull moment with ‘Bazball’. And as Ben Stokes and co. look forward to some time off following a full throttle few weeks, it’ll be fascinating to see where England’s Test side go from here.

Stuart Broad bowling at Old Trafford during the fourth Ashes Test Match 2023

Cricket Hospitality

‘Bazball’ has made Test cricket great again

Whether you love or hate ‘Bazball’, one thing is certain – English Test cricket is alive and kicking. Prior to McCullum taking charge, England had won just once in 17 matches. Something needed to change and it’s been non-stop fun since last May.

England’s new style is exciting, fresh and it’s seen interest in Test cricket reach the highest it’s been in years. It’s not perfect and it may not have delivered an Ashes win but like anything new, it’s a learning process.

‘Bazball’ certainly comes with risk but that’s what makes it exciting. The decision to declare early in the first Test at Edgbaston received criticism and in hindsight, it may have been a mistake. But it showed positive thinking and had it come off, McCullum and Stokes would have been labelled geniuses.

Playing it safe clearly hadn’t been working so it’s refreshing to see them try something new. And ultimately, it’s not early declarations or batting order selection that stopped England winning the Ashes. It’s individual errors, poor shot selection and dropped catches (not to mention the rain!), which can be ironed out and could so easily have gone the other way.

‘Bazball’ is not just a fun experiment – it’s only just getting started. There’s no reason to change it now and England now have six months to learn from their mistakes and conjure up a plan to take it to the next level.


Old Trafford Cricket Ground during the fourth Ashes Test Match 2023

Changing of the guard

‘Bazball’ isn’t the only dramatic change affecting England’s Test cricket side. Legendary bowler Broad has announced his retirement from the game – and he might not be the only one.

The 37-year-old has enjoyed almost 17 years representing England in all disciplines of cricket and there likely wasn’t a dry eye in the house as he walked out to bat one last time with old pal Jimmy Anderson on day four at The Oval.

Not one for going out quietly, Broad finished in style as he smashed Mitchell Starc for six in his final shot in Test cricket. And in his final innings with ball in hand, Broad finished his career with the ultimate fairytale ending, dismissing Todd Murphy and Alex Carey to claim 604 Test wickets and win England the match.

While Anderson is yet to announce where his future lies, there are grumblings that his retirement may not be too far away either. The Lancashire stalwart turned 41 on Saturday and having struggled with his fitness this year, he may choose to call it a day in the near future.

Despite some of England’s greats reaching the twilight of their careers, the future remains bright. This Ashes series has shown there are plenty of young prospects ready to step up and lead the next generation.

Harry Brook is just 24 and only made his Test debut last September. Yet at times against Australia, he looked like a seasoned pro and his 75 was pivotal in England winning the third Test at Headingley.

Similarly, Zak Crawley is only a year older than Brook and he’s established himself as a superb opening batsman. His stunning return of 189 at Old Trafford will go down in Ashes history, regardless of the match eventually being rained off.

The next time the Ashes takes place on these shores, the likes of Stokes, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow may still be fit and hungry enough to play a part. But the latest series has shown that the conveyor belt of talent in this country is as fruitful as ever and the future is in good hands.

What’s next for England?

Some members of England’s Ashes team will have their eye on the World Cup, which gets underway in October. But for the Test side, there’s plenty of World Test Championship action to look forward to over the next couple of years.

The Ashes series against Australia was the first of England’s six scheduled fixtures in the competition, which involves nine nations in total. The two sides that finish top of the table will battle it out in a final at Lord’s in the summer of 2025.

Next up for England is a trip to India for a five-match series starting in January. Stokes will be hoping to be fit and raring to go by then. The England skipper is set to spend the next six months recovering from a knee injury that has given him constant issues throughout the Ashes.

Following the India fixture, England will be back on home soil for two Test matches next summer. First up they welcome the West Indies in July, with three matches taking place at Lord’s, Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

The following month, McCullum’s side will start another three-match series against Sri Lanka at Old Trafford, Lord’s and The Oval. If you enjoyed the Ashes and fancy seeing ‘Bazball’ in person, you can watch these series from the best seats in the house with our exclusive hospitality packages.

England will finish their World Test Championship campaign with away trips to Pakistan and New Zealand at the end of next year, before (hopefully) heading to Lord’s for the final. Fingers crossed!

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