Only sightscreen issues obstruct England as they satiate 35-year hunger for World T20 title.
There could not have been a more fitting venue than the Kensington Oval for the final of the World T20. On the basis of conditions, each team could have been granted a home advantage. Australia could easily have imagined themselves at Perth’s WACA such was the pace and bounce of the Barbadian wicket. For England the support was not too dissimilar from those seen at the English test match grounds, in that it was made of Britishers with rosy red skin, as equally from the flow of alcohol as the effect of the sun’s rays.
Nor could there be, in the opinions of numerous journalists, commentators and analysts, two more worthy teams to be placed in the final. For such an endorsement from those within the game suggests that the format of the tournament is as much about quality of cricket played by those deserving of progression, as guaranteeing Indian participation for as long as possible (and the resultant viewing figures).
Use of the term ‘blade’ is apt with Shane Watson, his cutting and chopping of wide off-side deliveries can be sublime, but targeted by England today he offered a sharp edge behind the stumps. Whilst a grab from Kieswetter was not enough to claim the wicket, it was a sharp second chance as the ball was parried to Swann at first slip. Nestling between his wrists to dismiss the outspoken opener, the wicket was to be an indication for the fortune that would go England’s way throughout the match.
Yet this is not to suggest that England’s victory was nothing short of deserved. In a disciplined performance in the field England’s bowlers stuck to their plan. Little if anything was presented to be driven, as short of a length became the norm, stifling the Australian batsmen and only two boundaries were conceded in first half on the innings. The lack of scoring opportunities shook an out of form Michael Clarke, prompting some ill-advised singles. Accounting for the wicket of Dave Warner was a mixture of poor judgement but equally an on-edge display of fielding, which became typical of England’s effort in the first half.
Australia were reeling at 8 for 3 as Haddin was adjudged to have been caught down the leg side by keeper Kieswetter, although replays and a bruise on the hip suggested little, if any bat contact. Clarke’s scratchy innings was curtailed by another impressive spell from Graeme Swann, as Collingwood dived to pluck a chance from a mistimed onside flick, part of a display that would suggest he could be the leading fielder in world cricket.
Momentum appeared to shift in the 13th over as Mike Yardy was dispatched for 21 runs as David Hussey and Cameron White combined powerfully for much needed runs. Yet any chance of an Australian comeback was terminated when White found a diving Stuart Broad at deep extra cover, making up for a making an embarrassing mess of a chance, offered in the previous over from Hussey.
David, accompanied by his brother Mike made Broad along with England pay for this error, joining forces to finish the innings in typical Hussey fashion, setting England 147 to win.
Despite the dismissal of Lumb in the second over, it was only an issue regarding a stubborn sightscreen that provided any hindrance to the run chase. Pietersen, along with Kieswetter built momentum as they complied 41 at the end of the power play, before tucking into the bowling during the middle stages. The innings stumbled on a minor blip as Pietersen holed out to deep long off and soon after Kieswetter, in a bizarre mixture of pre-meditated movement ending with a leave found his off stump demolished.
It was England captain Paul Collingwood who, through midwicket smashed the winning run in the 17th over. This was a performance, on the day and so too throughout the tournament by which England’s balanced (and unchanged) team have exhibited discipline, energy and focus, along with the desperately required ethic of ruthlessness, notably during the power plays.
Yet perhaps it was the hunger, from England’s lack of success during world events that was most telling, satiated after 35 years.
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