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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

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England never had it so good

The England cricketers finally obliged by winning the ICC World Cup Twenty20 tournament convincingly beating the fancied Australians by seven wickets at the Kensington Oval, in Barbados in the Caribbean on Sunday.

The two teams England and Australia took the field after victories against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the semi-finals. While England romped to victory, Australia had to play out of their skins to pocket victory.

The day dawned bright and sunny and the wicket looked a good one when the two captains Michael Clarke of Australia and Paul Collingwood of England walked out to spin the coin.

Collingwood drew first blood when he won the toss. He surprised every one by asking the Aussies to take first strike. While his decision came in for a bit of criticism, he was convinced that he had done the right thing in putting the kangaroos in.

Think tanks

Obviously the England think tanks had mapped out their strategy well. And this was obvious from the first ball bowled by left arm paceman Ryan Sidebottom.They were going to bowl wicket to wicket and torment the Aussie batsmen.

Their bowlers pacemen Sidebottom, Tony Bresnan, Stuart Broad and spinners Graeme Swann and Yardy bowled the correct line and the right areas. There was pace, movement and bounce for the pacies and spin and bounce as well for the spinners.

The Aussies were off to a horror star losing three wickets for eight. In the first six overs where field restrictions come into play, the kangaroos could score only 24. That was because the bowlers bowled tight and were disciplined.

Losing three early wickets took the fight out of the Aussies and if not for the blast by David Hussey and Cameron White, the Aussie would have collapsed in a heap and the game would have been over early.

Wretched run

Skipper Michael Clarke who had a wretched run with the bat, unnecessarily ran out the dashing left hander David Warner. He patted a delivery and scampered like a hare to the non striker's end leaving Warner stranded.

That was unbecoming of a skipper. To say the least it was irresponsible, considering that Warner had he settled down could have bludgeoned the England attack.

At the end of the game after the defeat Clarke's captaincy and batting form came in for question. Even before the game started former New Zealand paceman Danny Morrison who is doing commentary for TV questioned Clarke's captaincy and batting form on the 'Cricket Crazy' show.

Morrison said that Clarke should step down and hand over the captaincy to Shane Watson. And Morrson's questioning proved right as the game progressed, as Clarke began to falter in his captaincy and allow the England batsmen to make merry.

World title

That England finally won a world title would have been ecstasy to captain Paul Collingwood, his team mates, the think tanks and the authorities running the game in old blightey.

Never before has England won a World Cup. They lost the 1979, 1982 and 1992 World Cup finals and surrendered to Brian Lara's West Indians in the 2007 Champions Trophy at home. England's soccerites won the soccer World Cup in 1966 when they hosted it and the ruggerites won the World Cup a few years back defeating Australia in the final.

Skipper Paul Collingwood who had the mortification of seeing his team make a horror start losing to Netherlands in the opening game of the2009 ICC World Cup Twenty20 game at Lord's.

From the team that lost to the Netherlands only five survivors Collingwood, Luke Wright, Eoin Moragn, Stuart Broad and Ryan Sidebottom played in this cup winning team and this success would have been memorable for them.

Collingwood led from the front. He switched his bowlers cleverly and intelligently and the bowlers did not let their skipper down bowling tight and not letting the Aussie batsmen to cut loose. The catch he took to send back Clarke was magnificent.

Formidable score

Other than for David Hussey and Cameron white who waded into the England bowlers in an endeavour to make a formidable score, the less said about the rest of the batting the better.

When England began their chase, they lost Michael Lumb early. But that was the only success that came the Aussie way as Craig Kieswetter and the experienced Kevin Pietersen, both South African born, began a grand partnership putting on 111 for the second wicket to put England on the victory podium.

A question in jest. When will England field made in England players and a made in England coach. Their coach now is Zimbawean Andy Flower. To Flower's credit it must be said that he has moulded this England squad into a formidable force.

Kieswetter looks a very compact player with the right technique and temperament and with experience should turn out to score a lot of runs and serve England cricket well in the future.

Dream run

Kevin Pietersen had a dream run in this tournament. Of late he had not been in the runs and this was causing the England camp worry. But with determination he found his lost form and began to put the opposing bowlers to the sword.

In helping England to this memorable triumph he also celebrated his first born by winning the man of the tournament award. He batted beautifully with superb timing as his punishing strokes of old began to show.

This victory is one that England will always remember. They have now got the right talent and the players who are aggressive in their approach and if they continue to believe in themselves should rule the game for a long time.

As for Australia who were second best, they were offered the game on a platter when they were asked to bat first. But they threw it all with some ungainly batting, with David Hussey and Cameron White being the only exceptions.

All in all it was a tournament well conducted and the West Indian Cricket Board can take a bow. That their team could not be concerned at the finish was just one of those things. Because that's how the game goes.

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