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Adam Zampa and England - a never-ending love story

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Last updated on 08 Jun 2024 | 09:45 PM
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Adam Zampa and England - a never-ending love story

If deception is an art, Zampa is the greatest artist that the game has seen

30th October 2021 - Australia vs England, Dubai (T20 World Cup)

It is perhaps a day that changed Adam Zampa’s life. After conceding two runs in his first over, where he also removed Jason Roy, his night turned upside down when he came up against a rampant Jos Buttler

Buttler was in a completely different dimension that night, and every ball flew in a different direction. First, a six, then a reverse-sweep for four before a flick for a six. If that wasn’t enough, Jonny Bairstow added salt to the wound with two sixes of his own. Three overs, 37 runs and just one wicket. You could see it clearly that Zampa was shattered. 

Australia went on to win the T20 World Cup, but that match played a big hand in hardening Zampa. 

4th November 2022 - Australia vs England, Ahmedabad (ODI World Cup)

Defending 286, Australia got off to a perfect start, with Mitchell Starc removing Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root at 19/2. But you don’t win against the defending champions by just removing two of their top-order batters. 

England’s middle order was as good as it could ever get. Even at 44/2, there was a brief doubt whether Australia could pull it off. Then entered Zampa, who bowled a spell that would even make the late great Shane Warne turn his head. If anything, it was the perfect tribute to the greatness that Warne embodied.

Zampa removed Buttler, who looked at sea all innings, facing the leg-spinner. With Ben Stokes around to do the most Stokes of things, Pat Cummins turned to Zampa yet again, who removed the big match all-rounder to leave England reeling. It was only fitting that he completed the formalities, dismissing Moeen Ali and finishing with boundary-less figures of 3/21. 

Boundary-less against a team that knows no other way to play cricket. In terms of World Cup spells, there aren't too many that could top it off.  

8th June 2024 - Australia vs England, Barbados (T20 World Cup)

Yet again, an Australian skipper was looking towards Zampa with hope in his eyes. But this time it was Mitchell Marsh. 

England were flying, like they always do against Australia in this format. 73 runs in 7 overs. But then enter Zampa, a man who changed the game's complexion. He didn’t need any loosener either. 

He was quicker in his first ball and accurate, with the slider getting past the dangerous-looking Phil Salt, who had scored 37 off 22 until then. It was the 12th consecutive T20 World Cup innings where he picked a wicket. 

An over later, Buttler had enough of Zampa, with a six. While this could have easily brought flashbacks for the leg-spinner, he outwitted the right-hander with a slower delivery. Buttler, targeting the smaller side, pre-empted a reverse sweep only to find Pat Cummins. 

In just two overs, Zampa removed both the England openers while conceding just 13 runs, all while using the shorter boundary to his advantage, a major reason why both Buttler and Salt targeted the off-side region. 

2 overs, 13 runs, 2 wickets.

In terms of impact, nothing could top it. In terms of skillset, not many people in world cricket currently come close to the Australian leggie. Zampa ended the night with figures of 2/28, conceding 15 runs in his last two overs despite bowling his last over at the death. 

This is in the same clash where Adil Rashid struggled with figures of 1/41. Even after slaying against arch-rivals, Zampa came out saying it was a difficult task to ‘read conditions’ in the Caribbean. 

“It's difficult to understand the wickets here in the West Indies, I bowled a few balls and realised that it stayed low, so I needed to bowl on a spot, you never know what'll happen. I wanted them to come at me and look to attack,” Zampa said in the post-match presentation. 

Shane Warne was and will always be considered one of the world’s all-time greats. While that battle might be too big for Zampa to conquer, he might very well be one of Australia’s greatest white-ball spinners that the game has seen. 

Zampa’s consistency is unreal and scary, especially when put under immense pressure for immediate success. It is days like this that show Australia time and again how important the leg-spinner is to the nation.

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