Tuesday, 11 May 2010 00:24
Contributed by David Green
We're not claiming sage like status yet, but our prediction that England would win the World T20 is increasingly looking like it could be as accurate as the Exit Poll for the UK General Election that David Dimbleby took great delight in announcing on Thursday night.
England's performances against holders Pakistan and the dangerous South Africa have taken Paul Collingwood's men to the brink of the semi-finals where they will likely play India, Australia or Sri Lanka.
We spoke before the tournament that the experience gained by some of the key batsmen in the IPL coupled with a for once brave and adventurous choice by the selectors had put England in a reasonable position to challenge. Other than the disappointing batting performance against Ireland, we have seen nothing to change our minds, and indeed our belief that England will triumph is now even stronger.
Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter have generally giving the side good and fast starts and are the complete antithesis to previous English T20 openers such as Denly, Cook, Bell and Trott. Most importantly, England's key man Kevin Pietersen is clearly up for the fight. His contrasting knocks against Pakistan, which guided England home, and South Africa, which helped set a daunting target, demonstrate the benefit he gained from playing for Bangalore in the IPL.
Collingwood hasn't really fired with the bat yet, but you just know that when England really need him to, he will dig in and launch the odd six towards cow corner. The unorthodox Eoin Morgan was brilliant against West Indies and Ireland and is England's joker in the pack. The Irishman must be a nightmare for opposing captains to set a field to.
We're still not sure about Luke Wright at six. His bowling hasn't really been a factor either and despite a good knock against West Indies, we would still feel more comfortable if Ravi Bopara took his place. The way he got out yesterday trying to hit Charl Langeveldt out of the ground was a bit disappointing to say the least.
Tim Bresnan continues to surprise. He doesn't take many wickets but he has proved difficult for opposing batsmen to put away and adds some quick runs at number seven. England's other joker in the pack has been Mike Yardy. It was a brave decision of the selectors to pick Yardy, but those of us that follow Sussex would confirm that he was one of the main reasons the county won the domestic T20 last season. His bowling is very difficult to get away and like Morgan, his unorthodox batting style works well in this format of the game.
Then come Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Ryan Sidebottom. Swann has been his usual reliable self and has taken a regular supply of important wickets. Broad too is worth his place, but most people would still pick James Anderson over Sidebottom. The one thing going for the hairy Sidebottom is the fact he is a left armer and it must be said that the angle they generate seems to be an important factor in T20 cricket.
So it's so far so good for England. If they can overcome their bogey side New Zealand, then they are likely to avoid Australia in the semi-final (although playing them in St Lucia might be easier than facing their pace barrage on the bouncy Bridgetown surface) and England just may yet add 2010 to the roll of honour that started in 1966 and made another impression in 2003.
A country is increasingly holding its breath.
About the writer: David Green is the brain behind The Reverse Sweep and as well as writing for Holding Willey, also provides regular articles to CricDude and World Cricket Watch. You can also follow David on Twitter @TheReverseSweep. Read more about him here.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 17:56