England v NZ, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Pallekele

Broad hails strong performance

David Hopps in Pallekele

September 29, 2012

Comments: 6 | Text size: A | A

England's Twenty20 captain, Stuart Broad, envisaged his side playing the "perfect game" in this World Twenty20 after Luke Wright calmed the jitters about their top order in a six-wicket defeat of New Zealand with seven balls to spare in their Super Eights tie in Pallakele.

Things change quickly in T20. Only New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, as the match finished, was ahead of Wright in the leading run-makers for the tournament. After all the talk of their batting frailties, England had three batsmen - Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales also - in the top five.

Broad, visibly uplifted after the torment of England's misconceived batting displays against India and West Indies, said: "Today's result means a lot. Although it wasn't perfect we put in a lot of strong performances. I genuinely believe that we will get that perfect game and I think we will be pretty unstoppable when that happens."

That perfect game might have to happen on Monday. England face Sri Lanka at Pallakele and will have to win to be assured of a place in the semi-finals. "It will be an electric atmosphere for us on Monday and it will be important for us to keep our composure," Broad said. "It will be loud, it will be hectic and there will be a lot of fans shouting for Sri Lanka but that will be exciting for us."

Wright paced his innings to perfection, stroking 16 from his first 16 balls but then scoring 60 from his next 27 with five sixes, including four in the space of seven balls faced. New Zealand's emphasis upon spin, with Rob Nicol's part-time offbreaks also called up for three overs, was logical enough in view of a dry pitch and England's reputation, but it failed to bring dividends.

The rate got up to nine an over midway through the innings and stubbornly remained there for quite a while. England needed 54 from the last six overs before Wright's six-hitting spree settled the game, with Tim Southee also punished as he failed to hit his yorkers. Wright took the Man-of-the-Match award, suggested that Steven Finn's three wickets should have won it, and praised Eoin Morgan's influence at the non-striker's end for the pacing of his innings.

England celebrate an early wicket, England v New Zealand, World Twenty20, Super Eights, Pallekele, September 29, 2012
Stuart Broad believes England are close to playing to their full potential © ICC/Getty

"It is easy to start panicking then and sat in the dugout you look out to the middle and get a bit nervous but the guys showed a lot of calmness to get us over the line as they did," Broad said. "If we can really keep our wickets intact you will see the power we have. The key for us is to express ourselves but also to have the skill to pack that last 10 overs full of batsmen."

Wright, who made 99 in the group stage against Afghanistan, banished the memory of his first-baller against West Indies, an attempted leave which he steered to slip, a shot that had added to the uncertainty surrounding England's top order. Against New Zealand, he played naturally, not trying to be something he isn't, a strong hitter who allowed himself time to get in and then reaped the benefit.

"It was just nice to get past the first ball after the last innings," he said. "After that I was able to chill out a little bit and build a partnership. In the last game I tried to leave it and I found myself out so it wasn't as if I was going at it too hard. One thing you find is that if you do have a batter in, people can bat around you and it's amazing how much you can catch up and score."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 30, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

What is it with England and appointing terrible captains. First Strauss now Broad!

Posted by Meety on (September 30, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

Good for England that they won. I wouldn't want to rely on Wright to get you home against good bowling. NZ are never easy to beat, should be a confidence booster!

Posted by   on (September 29, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

Well done. But batting still needs cast improvements. I think Kieswetter plays a better role down the order, and he's not mentally ready as opener for England. Like pheonixsteve suggested, I think Ravi's bowling is really required here

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (September 29, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

Lots of Indian and Australian posters missing tonight. Well played Wright and England.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (September 29, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

A much better performance from England who seem to be making team changes on a game by game basis? Playing at least 2 spinners seems to be the way to go and the only weak link (as usual) was the trundling of Bresnan. Opposing batsmen seem to enjoy him and he never looks like getting wickets? Like the Windies, England seem to have caught the inconsistency bug and will have to play really well to beat Sri Lanka. If they do and Windies beat NZ I suppose it'll be the run rates that decide the 2 semi finalists? SL and NZ tieing their game will help the England cause? It was good sensible batting from Wright and a calm authority from Morgan that saw a relatively comfortable victory. My team for the next game would be Hales, Wright,Buttler, Bairstow(WK) , Morgan,Bopara, Patel, Swann, Briggs, Broad & Finn. The inclusion of Ravi will seem a strange one to many, but I believe his bowling will be more effective than Bresnans and he MUST be due with the bat? (if needed) COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by   on (September 29, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

Congratulation Broaddy.great Performance by Finn, Luke and Morgan...keep it up.all the best.....

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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