Friday, May 14, 2010
England continue to impress
England continue to impress as they yet again played superbly to defeat Lanka and reach the finals of the world T/20. I expected the England team to do well as the team is good on paper, but my major worry was the consistency. In tournaments, England have rarely been consistent, but in this tournament they have exceeded my expectations by playing very well not just in one game, but in most of the games.
As far as the match was concerned, Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first. Yes, even though it was a late start, there was a bit of moisture in the pitch, but once a team would get through the first few overs, it was still a good batting track. Lanka though, caved in meekly and lost early wickets. Other than the Lankan management, anyone could say that Jayasuirya is well past his best, but they again sent him to open the batting and as expected he got out. England's fielding again was top notch as Wright took a very good catch to dismiss Dilshan. I have said this a few times that I have never seen England field as well as they have done in this tournament. It isn't just the catches England's fielders have taken, but all those patrolling the boundary have rocket arms and opposition batsmen would think twice before stealing another run.
Anyway, coming back to the match, the big wicket was that of Mahela and here Broad has to take the credit as he extracted a touch bit of movement to get the edge. So, with Mahela gone, Lanka's hopes of getting a decent score vanished into thin air. Swann again bowled beautifully and Yardy supported him well. A lot has been written about Swann and he deserves all those accolades as he is one of the best spinners going around, but what about Yardy's contributions to England's success?? The theory of having a left arm spinner in T/20 cricket is good, but it doesn't mean that any tom, dick and harry can bowl left arm spin and escape without getting punished like we saw with Jadeja who got hammered. Yardy though, is a different kettle of fish as for a bowler who mainly bowls darts, he mixes it up well by occasionally giving it a bit of flight. Yardy also has the best E/R in domestic cricket. The successful combination of Swann and Yardy has been one of the main reasons why England have qualified for the finals.
For Lanka, Mathews played a brilliant knock though, didn't get much support from the other end. He was also helped by Bresnan as he bowled a poor last over. Oh I had just praised him in my last blog as I thought he bowled better against NZ, but has again gone back to his old ways of trying all those slower bouncers and not getting it right. Slower bouncers have worked for Broad, who bowled very well yesterday and Siders, but Bresnan looks much better when he is bowling full and straight.
A score of 128 was never going to be difficult on a good batting track, but Lanka's mistakes in the field made it impossible to defend. Lumb should have been run out twice and they dropped a catch of him as well. A few misfields didn't help them either. Lumb and his partner Kieswetter though, know only one way to bat and that is to attack and I like that. In T/20 cricket, I stress that it is imperative to take advantage of the overs in the power play and both have given England good starts. I heard that England have the best scoring rate in the first 6 overs and would have anyone expected England to do that?? It is much better to be 60 for 2 after the first 6 overs than a team scoring 30 for 1 after the six overs. The main reason behind South Africa getting knocked out in the super eights can be attributed to their top order not scoring quickly in the first six overs and as a result it was constantly putting enormous pressure on the middle order.
Once both Lumb and Kieswetter got out, KP took apart the Lankan attack and the match came to an early end. The way KP nonchalantly picked that slower delivery of Malinga and dispatched it for a six is a warning signal for England's opponents in the final as he is looking in great touch. The only worry would be Colly's form and maybe Bresnan's inconsistency.
England look strong, but if as expected they meet Australia, it can be tough for England to win as Australia look the better side.