T20 World Cup, 2010 – South Africa
There was a very real danger that unfancied England might have fallen at the first hurdle, a danger exacerbated when Duckworth-Lewis contrived to give the West Indies a win in the opening fixture when they’d made no more than a decent start when chasing 191 -the tournament’s highest total to that point. As it was, West Indies’ thumping of Ireland in the opening match was enough to cruelly cement Ireland’s exit, when having limited England to just 120-8 their chase was washed out and a no result verdict was passed.
So England, Played 2 Won 0, went through as a result of run rate. Inspiring, huh.
Having scraped through the formalities of Group D, England went into Group E (obviously).
From this point it’s worth mentioning that they didn’t lose another match. First Pakistan were limited to 147 after being bamboozled by the mystery non-spin of Michael Yardy (4-0-19-2); Kevin Pietersen then began a run of form with a blistering 73* to guide England home with 3 balls to spare.
In the second fixture Dale Steyn (4-0-50-0) and South Africa were then sent to all parts with Pietersen (53 from 33) again starring, Ryan Sidebottom and Graeme Swann with 3 wickets apiece sealing an empthatic 39 run victory.
A bog-standard, unmemorable victory sans a rested KP against New Zealand kept the momentum for the already qualified for semi final. Apologies to Tim Bresnan whose stats (4-0-20-1 plus 23* from 11 balls) indicate a bit of a match-winning performance; sorry Tim but I don’t remember it, and the rest of your tournament was pretty mediocre.
Semi-Finals – England vs Sri Lanka
The semi-finals awaited; Sri Lanka awaited. Sri Lanka were a well rounded side with a strong top order, big hitters in the lower order and plenty of variation in their attack. Phenomenal bowling from Broad, Sidebottom, Yardy and Swann (sorry again Bresilad) kept a much fancied Sri Lanka to 128 (Angelo Matthews 58 from 45). The mystery spin of Ajantha Mendis and the more obvious talents of Lasith Malinga could not keep Pietersen (42* from 26) from guiding England to a comfortable victory with 4 overs to spare – to face Australia in the final.
Again unfancied to be anything resembling successful, England’s bowlers limited Australia well too; Australia reaching just 147 (David Hussey 50) with a good all-round bowling performance (with Yardy and Bresnan expensive – sorry Tim). Yet again Kevin Pietersen (47 from 31) was at the fore-front of a comfortable chase, this time with Craig Kieswetter (63 from 49) also contributing and seeing England home with 3 overs to spare. Australia were not a 2006 or even a 2001 juggernaut at this point, but they were still pretty dominant in terms of limited overs cricket and really expected to see off England.
What We Learnt
Not a lot, apparently.
Five Things We Should Have Learnt
1. You can get away with starting a tournament slowly, but you won’t win unless you turn it on at the business end. The nature of England’s final two matches could not have been further from those of the opening fixtures. Momentum may or may not be a real sporting variable, but if it exists it had certainly swung in England’s favour by the end.
2. Kevin Pietersen is a World Class T20 asset. Only Mike Hussey averaged more (boosted by four “not outs”), only Mihela Jayawardene scored more (boosted by a ton vs Zimbabwe). At the aforementioned “business end”, Pietersen averaged in excess of 100 in England’s final four matches. Irreplaceable. Sorry Rajasthan Royals and co, but I’m even considering bidding for him for my team in the Plymouth & Districts weeknight T20 league. He’d open the bowling too.
3. Sidebottom, Bresnan, Broad, Yardy and Swann. Five pretty uninspiring names, with two uninspiring bit part bowlers in Collingwood and Wright as back-up. Yet although individually they wouldn’t strike fear into anyone, as a unit they worked: Left arm over the wicket, the short right armer who bowls a “heavy ball”, the tall quick with the awkward bounce, the left arm tweaker, the off-spinner with an excellent length, plus the dibbly dobbly medium pacer and the spare 80mph bowler. The individuals in England’s bowling unit were not great, but the variation available was. And I’m not talking about Dernbach’s back of the hand long hops…
4. Fielding. David Hussey was run out by Luke Wright having reached 50 in the final to slow Australia’s late dash. Angelo Mathews was run out by Collingwood having reached 50 in the semi final. This wasn’t an electric side in the field by any means but at the key points they delivered, and some individuals in vital areas were consistently outstanding.
5. England’s batting order just felt right. England weren’t afraid to open with their Somerset produced wicket-keeper and tell him and his partner to go for it from the off. The best player (Pietersen) was at 3 and the captain Collingwood at 4. Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright were reduced to finishing roles but they rarely slowed the innings. Someone like Bresnan at 7 is absolutely fine in this format if you have confidence in the top order and you have Yardy at 8 and Broad and Swann at 9 and 10.