Mike Holmans May 13, 2010

Good luck England

Whatever happens in today's semi-final against the Lankans, England can go home feeling they've earned some respect and done themselves somewhere near justice.
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England are not just winning matches, they are playing highly attractive, watchable cricket © Getty Images
 

It is a week of wonders. Following an inconclusive general election, Britain now has her first-ever Conservative-Liberal coalition government while in the Caribbean, the England cricket team have cantered through to the semi-finals of an ICC limited-over tournament and give every appearance of being genuine contenders. Anyone who bet on either event happening a month ago can probably afford an IPL franchise now.

This is not the place to be discussing British politics, however fascinating, but it is a very strange feeling indeed to be an England fan who can seriously entertain thoughts of his cricket team winning a men's World Twenty20. Australia have appeared so powerful that it's hard to see past them as eventual winners, but England look at least as well-equipped to topple them as either of the Asian teams left in the semis, and we know anything can happen in Twenty20.

The natural pessimism of the England fan forces one to pick holes, but it is surprisingly difficult to find the opening. Paul Collingwood's form with the bat seems to have gone west, but his captaincy is now at least competent, a major advance from when he was ODI captain against New Zealand a couple of years ago and obviously had no clue about how many overs his bowlers had, let alone when to put them on or what field to set. The only real under-performer has been Stuart Broad, who seems to be shedding braincells at an alarming rate. So well is the team functioning, in fact, that it is even possible that the next Twenty20 international England play after the World Twenty20 will not see a new opening partnership.

And glory be, they have been playing highly attractive, watchable cricket. In the last 15 years, England have occasionally made a decent showing in a limited-over tournament in terms of winning some games, but you wouldn't have recommended their games to neutrals as enjoyable exhibitions. In this tourney, however, we have seen both Pietersen and Morgan play innings of considerable style, power and invention and the likes of Lumb, Kieswetter and Wright clouting the ball to all parts. (Well, in Wright's case it's not to all parts because he only has the one shot to cow corner, but you know what I mean.) The bowling has been varied, intelligent and adaptable and the catching quite often spectacular. Nothing has showed the vast improvement in the team as a whole to better advantage than Ryan Sidebottom, something of a fielding donkey, and butter-fingered Kevin Pietersen both taking spectacular running catches in the deep.

Whatever happens in today's semi-final against the Lankans, England can go home feeling they've earned some respect and done themselves somewhere near justice. Of course, if they win today and then go on and win the Final they will have done themselves more than justice and earned as much respect as others are prepared to give them (which, it being England, won't be a great deal), but it's probably worth saying that to have got even this far is a huge step forward for England's perennial disappointers.

I'll now put the mockers on their chances by wishing them good luck, but even so they've had a good run.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • siddharth brahmbhatt on June 3, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    england r up and running they r the true players for cricket but they do miss fredy flintoff

  • forex robot on May 17, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  • Fahad ktk on May 16, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    I believe Australia did extraordinary well as usual. Pakistan is a top level team but I must admit that Australia is better and acquires very high standards of Cricket, wish them all the best in the Final!

  • tariq saeed on May 15, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    THE PRESENT ENGLAND TEAM IS THE PERFECT BLEND OF PACE, SPIN AND EXPLOSIVE BATTING. GOOD LUCK TO THEM AGAINST THE AUSTRALIANS!

  • Asif Rathod on May 15, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    Two, thumbs up for England. They are playing as a unit first time after 2005 Ashes. They have gr8 chance of winning the their first big title in history of 150 years cricket.

  • Mamun on May 15, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    Good luck England.hope you will be champion t20 world cup.

  • Sami ullah Baig on May 14, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    MOST IMPORTANT THING I am sick of this Indian domination of everything in cricket. We have to bear 4 Indian commentators while other countries have one or two commentators. Why this bias.?The ICC(Indian Cricket Board) should look into this matter. Here is the list of commentators in the ICC T20 World Cup.

    India 4 Pakistan 1 Australia 1 England 2 West Indies 2 South Africa 0 Sri Lanka 0 New Zealand 1 Bangladesh 0 Ireland 0

    There are no Sri Lankan and South African commentators. There should be equality. The ICC should abandon its India centric approach.

  • Abdullah on May 14, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    England has done well.Its time for England to get one Icc trophy, they havent been successful before, lets see how they play in the final

  • Rich Bailey on May 14, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    How is Stuart Broad underperforming?????? He picks up 2 for 20odd virtually every game and his job is obviously is to pick up a wicket before Swann and Yardy come on. A job which he has done every time!

    [Mike: It has been my impression that he has bowled more rubbish balls than anyone else in the attack. And it's damn difficult to find anything to criticise, so I guess I magnified this minor peccadillo.]

  • Dom Bunning on May 14, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    "butter fingered Kevin Peitersen" - apart from his debut Test series in the 2005 Ashes when he dropped his first six catches, KP has always been a very good fielder and catcher. Seems a bit harsh to judge someone's fielding on a 4-test blip that happened 5 years ago.

    Other than that, very true, England have found balaceand are playing good, entertaining cricket.

  • siddharth brahmbhatt on June 3, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    england r up and running they r the true players for cricket but they do miss fredy flintoff

  • forex robot on May 17, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  • Fahad ktk on May 16, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    I believe Australia did extraordinary well as usual. Pakistan is a top level team but I must admit that Australia is better and acquires very high standards of Cricket, wish them all the best in the Final!

  • tariq saeed on May 15, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    THE PRESENT ENGLAND TEAM IS THE PERFECT BLEND OF PACE, SPIN AND EXPLOSIVE BATTING. GOOD LUCK TO THEM AGAINST THE AUSTRALIANS!

  • Asif Rathod on May 15, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    Two, thumbs up for England. They are playing as a unit first time after 2005 Ashes. They have gr8 chance of winning the their first big title in history of 150 years cricket.

  • Mamun on May 15, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    Good luck England.hope you will be champion t20 world cup.

  • Sami ullah Baig on May 14, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    MOST IMPORTANT THING I am sick of this Indian domination of everything in cricket. We have to bear 4 Indian commentators while other countries have one or two commentators. Why this bias.?The ICC(Indian Cricket Board) should look into this matter. Here is the list of commentators in the ICC T20 World Cup.

    India 4 Pakistan 1 Australia 1 England 2 West Indies 2 South Africa 0 Sri Lanka 0 New Zealand 1 Bangladesh 0 Ireland 0

    There are no Sri Lankan and South African commentators. There should be equality. The ICC should abandon its India centric approach.

  • Abdullah on May 14, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    England has done well.Its time for England to get one Icc trophy, they havent been successful before, lets see how they play in the final

  • Rich Bailey on May 14, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    How is Stuart Broad underperforming?????? He picks up 2 for 20odd virtually every game and his job is obviously is to pick up a wicket before Swann and Yardy come on. A job which he has done every time!

    [Mike: It has been my impression that he has bowled more rubbish balls than anyone else in the attack. And it's damn difficult to find anything to criticise, so I guess I magnified this minor peccadillo.]

  • Dom Bunning on May 14, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    "butter fingered Kevin Peitersen" - apart from his debut Test series in the 2005 Ashes when he dropped his first six catches, KP has always been a very good fielder and catcher. Seems a bit harsh to judge someone's fielding on a 4-test blip that happened 5 years ago.

    Other than that, very true, England have found balaceand are playing good, entertaining cricket.

  • Anonymous on May 14, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    But yes i agree England is really playing very well this tie around and hope they do win the tournament

  • Rohan on May 14, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    just because u guys are winning the tournament once doesnt mean ur gonna win everytime. wait till sachin and sehwag come back to the Indian team. We would thrash England any day

  • Akbar on May 14, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    It,s an unblemished performance from the ENG team.They have disposed their opponents in a very very clinical manner so far. Best of luck for the final ENG. We are waiting for 2nd finalist today. AUS seems to be unconquerable in the present mode but Pak has a history of topppling the top guns. In case it happens ,it will be a repeat of 1992 WC final but in a shorter version of the game.

  • Kev on May 14, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    Abhishek is spot on because the one thing that has separated Australia from the rest is their ruthlessness when it comes to crunch games. How many times have we seen them not only win but smash teams in semi finals and finals of tournaments? England are a good team but how are they when things get tough?

  • Jawed Saleem on May 13, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    Mr. Shafqat,Yes I agree with you - this New-Look England side is exiciting to watch. England have some "CLASSY-Players" capable of ferocius-hitting coupled with sharp fielders. Fearless/dashing hitters at the top are followed by the classy Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan.

    But, England have to climb "ADAMS-PEAK" (in Sri Lanka).

    S/Lanka consists of "Dazzling" players like Classy Jayawardene & Sanngakara. Lankan bowling is definetly superior than English attack.

    Expect S/Lanka to prevail in high-intensity game !

    Jawed, Karachi

  • Mohammad Asad on May 13, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    Good performance by England so far..... Semis and final .... it's a big match; apart from that it T20 format...50/50 chance for both teams.. Yeah, I am Bangladeshi and I say the team that plays well on the day and keep nerve; will win... England needs to win International tournament.. Good Luck...........

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

  • Abhishek on May 13, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    They've done very well, no doubt. But its typically English to say "Whatever happens in today's semi-final against the Lankans". You won't hear an Australian being satisfied with his team getting beaten in the semis of any tournament.

  • Touseef on May 13, 2010, 13:16 GMT

    I agree totally with the Line, "they are playing good watchable cricket" Finally ENGLAND has a Limited Overs Team who is threatning to WIN everytime. Australians has always been found consistent & perfectionist, so nothing new from them, it was bound to happen, they observed Two T20 WCs and Now they are back with a bang. But such a performance coming from England, I never thought so, but now, I personally feel, if they go through this Semi final today, they can Beat AUSSIEs in the FINAL. BUT, on the other hand, if PAKISTAN (the unpredictables),they come into the Final, you never know whats going to Happen. Now you might be raising an eye brow or two..... yeah Obviously, I am a Pakistani FAN, and I am very optimist about our Semi final chances against the Mighty Aussies... but to be honest I really enjoyed watching this ENGLISH team playing this T20. BEST OF LUCK for SEMI FINALs

  • Asad on May 13, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    Good Luck England. To be honest I think England desreves the cup this time round....They just have to continue their exiting form in the next two games. Only Australia is the second to england who should win this title, but I guess they have won many...so lets back england this time. I am a pakistani fan, but I say the team that plays well desreves the cup!!!

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  • Asad on May 13, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    Good Luck England. To be honest I think England desreves the cup this time round....They just have to continue their exiting form in the next two games. Only Australia is the second to england who should win this title, but I guess they have won many...so lets back england this time. I am a pakistani fan, but I say the team that plays well desreves the cup!!!

  • Touseef on May 13, 2010, 13:16 GMT

    I agree totally with the Line, "they are playing good watchable cricket" Finally ENGLAND has a Limited Overs Team who is threatning to WIN everytime. Australians has always been found consistent & perfectionist, so nothing new from them, it was bound to happen, they observed Two T20 WCs and Now they are back with a bang. But such a performance coming from England, I never thought so, but now, I personally feel, if they go through this Semi final today, they can Beat AUSSIEs in the FINAL. BUT, on the other hand, if PAKISTAN (the unpredictables),they come into the Final, you never know whats going to Happen. Now you might be raising an eye brow or two..... yeah Obviously, I am a Pakistani FAN, and I am very optimist about our Semi final chances against the Mighty Aussies... but to be honest I really enjoyed watching this ENGLISH team playing this T20. BEST OF LUCK for SEMI FINALs

  • Abhishek on May 13, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    They've done very well, no doubt. But its typically English to say "Whatever happens in today's semi-final against the Lankans". You won't hear an Australian being satisfied with his team getting beaten in the semis of any tournament.

  • Mohammad Asad on May 13, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    Good performance by England so far..... Semis and final .... it's a big match; apart from that it T20 format...50/50 chance for both teams.. Yeah, I am Bangladeshi and I say the team that plays well on the day and keep nerve; will win... England needs to win International tournament.. Good Luck...........

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

  • Jawed Saleem on May 13, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    Mr. Shafqat,Yes I agree with you - this New-Look England side is exiciting to watch. England have some "CLASSY-Players" capable of ferocius-hitting coupled with sharp fielders. Fearless/dashing hitters at the top are followed by the classy Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan.

    But, England have to climb "ADAMS-PEAK" (in Sri Lanka).

    S/Lanka consists of "Dazzling" players like Classy Jayawardene & Sanngakara. Lankan bowling is definetly superior than English attack.

    Expect S/Lanka to prevail in high-intensity game !

    Jawed, Karachi

  • Kev on May 14, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    Abhishek is spot on because the one thing that has separated Australia from the rest is their ruthlessness when it comes to crunch games. How many times have we seen them not only win but smash teams in semi finals and finals of tournaments? England are a good team but how are they when things get tough?

  • Akbar on May 14, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    It,s an unblemished performance from the ENG team.They have disposed their opponents in a very very clinical manner so far. Best of luck for the final ENG. We are waiting for 2nd finalist today. AUS seems to be unconquerable in the present mode but Pak has a history of topppling the top guns. In case it happens ,it will be a repeat of 1992 WC final but in a shorter version of the game.

  • Rohan on May 14, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    just because u guys are winning the tournament once doesnt mean ur gonna win everytime. wait till sachin and sehwag come back to the Indian team. We would thrash England any day

  • Anonymous on May 14, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    But yes i agree England is really playing very well this tie around and hope they do win the tournament

  • Dom Bunning on May 14, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    "butter fingered Kevin Peitersen" - apart from his debut Test series in the 2005 Ashes when he dropped his first six catches, KP has always been a very good fielder and catcher. Seems a bit harsh to judge someone's fielding on a 4-test blip that happened 5 years ago.

    Other than that, very true, England have found balaceand are playing good, entertaining cricket.