World T20 2014 March 22, 2014

Borren's bashing, England's wet balls

Vithushan Ehantharajah
An irreverent look in and around the World T20 in Bangladesh. If you are looking for news, you have got lost in the right place.

Dutch courage

It wasn't Stephan Myburgh, who hit the joint-second fastest fifty in international cricket. It definitely wasn't Tom Cooper, with his 45 at a strike rate of 300 which scans confirmed broke the back end of the chase.

No, the hero in solar red orange was Peter Borren. With his team needing 190 in 14.2 overs to quality for the next round of the World Twenty20, the Dutch captain took the decision to lead from the front, having previously bemoaned his side's performances with the bat. He had never opened in T20I or ODI cricket. But none of that matters if you're Peter Borren.

With eyes that could turn a man to stone, but a heart that once compelled him to give dating advice to an opposition player during a preseason friendly ("If the conversation falters, just kiss her" - it worked), he threw himself into the innings head first. He hit 31 off 15 balls, before roaring from the boundary, as each four and six took the Netherlands closer to an astonishing win.

Wet balls and half bats

While they sound like medical conditions, they're actually the latest techniques employed by England in their bid for World T20 un-embarrassment.

In the time honoured fashion of sticking to their skill sets and executing their gameplans, Stuart Broad's men prepared for their opening game of the Super 10 by dunking balls in water to replicate the effects of dew and using skinnier training bats to practice hitting the ball out of the middle.

They've also spent time listening to Incubus to replicate the dull nothingness of Star Sports' on-field interviews. Apparently.

Nepal warm cockles

That the associate nations had to amuse us with their street charm before we were ushered into what the ICC perceive as the "tournament proper" has already soured this competition. But the homecoming afforded to Nepal might have made it all worthwhile.

In a first round qualifying group that featured Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Nepal missed out on the Super 10s on net run rate. Impressive victories against Hong Kong and Afghanistan were watched in Nepal by bumper audiences and they returned yesterday to open arms and ecstatic fans, as documented by the @CRICEVEREST Twitter account.

What a difference a loss to India makes

No sooner had India maintained their 100% record against Pakistan in world tournaments with a seven wicket win at the Shere Bangla National Stadium yesterday, Karachi stirred to the ravings of former players.

Javed Miandad bleated about field placings, Mohammad Yousuf criticised body language, while rumours of friction between Pakistan skipper Mohammed Hafeez and the management team of Moin Khan and Zaheer Abbas soon turned to fact. And just to add the reactionary nature of it all, guess who has been put forward to dislodge Hafeez?

"Afridi is more aggressive and proactive," Miandad championed. "The responsibility could also force him to raise his own game." Where to begin with that?

Otherwise Engaged

A year ago, Steven Finn could fairly have assumed that he would be a vital part of England's bowling attack in Bangladesh. Instead, after a disastrous Ashes tour in which he only bowled 15 overs, all of them in Alice Springs, he went back to school this week - Merchant Taylor's School to be precise, in Hertfordshire, where Middlesex and Surrey were engaged in a two-day friendly ahead of the England season.

Tinkering with Finn's action in Australia only made matters worse as if the self-assembly manual had not prevented all his bits being put together in the wrong order. Out of the spotlight, he at least put talk of the yips into proportion by bowling 11 overs of reasonable accuracy on a surprisingly batsman-friendly surface. Zafar Ansari - Finn's first wicket - might prove to be the start of a recovery for a fast bowler who will hope that normal service will be resumed long before the next major ICC tournament - the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early next year.