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England Vs New Zealand

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St. Lucia witnessed a ruthless display from the New Zealand lower middle order batsmen against the ‘potentially’ formidable English side . But what was more exciting then the result was the ease with which the pace bowlers settled in and dictated the flow of the game, showcased primarily by a breathtaking bowling performance from Shane Bond  which, safe to assume, must have left many wanting for more. Ruthless, precise and straight in your face, Bond may well end up being the Bowler of the tournament – assuming he keeps all his limbs and ligments in working order. Robinhood Styris chipped in once again as New Zealand, for all practical purposes, sealed their position in the Super Eight alongside West Indies. But cricket is a funny game, and anything is possible here.

 Where England lost it

First and foremost, as the stats predicted, England needed a match winning innings which none of their batsmen could deliver. Even as Bond bowled with great pace, the English batsmen flirted with wide balls to give away some easy early wickets.

England’s potential batting score was 231 in 50 overs, without including extras, while their bowlers were slated to concede 244. At 52 for 3 in 16 overs, England were well behind their potential score and eventually posted a target which their bowlers could not have defended, going by the statistics.

However, it has to be admitted that Pietersen, Collingwood and Nixon showed some great steel and courage to put in a respectable total. What England lacked here was atleast one of Pietersen’s 60 and Collingwood’s 30 being converted into bigger score. Also, each of their batsmen played at a strike rate much lower than predicted, primarily because of good bowling performances from their opponents.

Anderson delivered timely blows but the remaining bowling attack could not capitalize on the situation. Sadly, Panesar and Plunkett could not even come closer to their best, giving the Kiwis an easy chase, and a victory to cherish.

 Where the Kiwis won it

Without doubt, it has to Scott Styris who gets the chief plaudits. Not only did he bowl well enough to compliment Bond’s early spell, but he also steadied the chase to gift his captain a place in Super 8.

But having said that, you can’t overlook some stand-up-and-deliver performances from Jacob Oram, Bond and Franklin. Together the four shared 7 (i.e. all of England’s) wickets and 150 runs of the 210 runs chased. Got to admit,this group of players plays astonishingly well as a team. But then, that is what stats had predicted, and that’s what England needed to guard against.

To conclude, in short, this Kiwi side has what it takes to beat big teams and may well be crowned as champions. For now, unless they bungle up big time, they secure a comfortable place in Super8. Cheers to them.

 With conclusions obtained for two of the four big pre-Super Eight matches, the World Cup is shaping up for some real tug-of-war business as it draws closer to the next round. With the Windies and Kiwis almost certain of a birth in second round, what remains to be seen is how the other two fight to survive. Objectively viewed, some thrilling stuff awaits to be witnessed.

 



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