We’re through to the finals of the T20 World Cup and there couldn’t be a more exciting and delicately poised prospect in store. Australia and England, the two oldest foes in cricket, have been in scintillating form and rightly deserve to be in this nail-biting decider. The two contrasting semi-finals make for very interesting reading.
England, who prior to their semi were considered on level terms with Sri Lanka, brushed their opponents aside in a crushing 7 wicket win thanks to some imperious batting from the resurgent Kevin Pietersen and a calculated bowling display that choked the impressive Sri Lankan middle order. Meanwhile Australia, predicted by many to steamroll a lacklustre Pakistan who had only won 2 out of 5 matches in the tournament, had to rely on Mike Hussey smashing 34 off the last 2 overs for their right to passage into the final and Mr. Cricket experiencing the ‘best feeling’ of his career.
Will this have any bearing on the final? What lies in store? Who will rise to the occasion?
Australia have finally taken a liking to the T20 format and their lineup packs one hell of a punch with power hitting and out and out pace. They are the only team to remain undefeated in the competition and until their semi looked simply unstoppable. The T20 World Cup is the only prize they haven’t taken to date and for that they can be excused seeing as it’s only its third installment. But if you consider the South Africans to be the “perennial chokers” of world cricket tournaments, then you have to give the Aussies the label of “perennial overachievers” whose players love the big game. And there’s nothing they like more than beating the English. Just think back to the 6-1 drubbing of England in the one day series right after us Poms had reclaimed the Ashes.
Meanwhile, England, who started off this tournament extremely shakily with a rain-affected loss to the West Indies and then were subsequently saved from embarrassment by the rain against the Irish, have put together four straight wins in a ruthless fashion. The batting of new father Kevin Pietersen has been sublime – a timely reminder as to why many consider him up there with the best batsmen in the world. We’ve almost forgotten altogether his 12 months of bad form. Furthermore, Eoin Morgan has been a revelation. Bowl at him in a conventional manner and he’ll smash you for six. Mix it up and he will mix it up with his trademark improvisation.
If the Australian bowling has been all about pace, the English bowling has been all about guile. Which bowling style will prevail? England’s middle order will like the ball coming on to the bat for one. But also Australia have the muscle to dispatch England’s canny bowling mixture to the boundary. It will be interesting to see what happens to their slower half-trackers that have been so effective to date.
One question still remains. Can England rise to the occasion? After all, in the “perennial chokers” category they are a close second to their South African counterparts. England’s trophy cabinet is bare when it comes to big international tournaments. But this England side appears to be different to sides gone by. England coach, Andy Flower, has instilled a confidence and determination that we England fans aren’t used to but are growing to like – a ruthless England cricket team?.
The anticipation for this game is killing me. I can’t wait…
Who will shine for Australia? Shane Watson and Mike Hussey
Who will shine for England? Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan
Australia Likely Starting Lineup: 1 Shane Watson, 2 David Warner, 3 Brad Haddin (wk), 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 David Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Michael Hussey, 8 Steven Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.
England Likely Starting Lineup: 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Paul Collingwood (capt), 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Luke Wright, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Michael Yardy, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 Ryan Sidebottom.
Read the Latest World Cricket Stories
Liked this post? You should subscribe to our email updates - why subscribe.