England v Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20, 1st Semi-Final, St Lucia May 12, 2010

Collingwood confident of resurgent England

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There will be no rousing speech or chest-thumping patriotism from Paul Collingwood when England take the field for their semi-final against Sri Lanka because he doesn't think his team needs it. The prospect of securing a place in their first major final since 2004 is motivation enough.

"The guys are ready; they are excited," he said. "If there was a feeling around the camp that the guys are nervous or anything like that then maybe something would have to be said. But the guys are so focused in the jobs they've got to do, roles they've got to play. We'll have a team meeting tonight, but let me tell you I'm not going to come out with any rip-roaring speech."

England have been the surprise package at this tournament (Australia were always going to get the hang of Twenty20 eventually) and there has been a supreme confidence about their play since a nerve-wracking evening in Guyana when they feared a short run chase would give Ireland a chance of piping them. That would have been a cruel exit and since then they have shown how far they have developed as a Twenty20 unit.

From the power-packed top order led by the selfless styles of Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter to the in-form middle order of Kevin Pietersen (who is due back in the Carribbean on Wednesday afternoon after being at the birth of his first child) and Eoin Morgan right down to the allrounders in Luke Wright and Tim Bresnan who have contributed important innings England have their batting bases covered. With the ball the seamers have held their own while the spin duo of Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy have excelled. In the field they have been as sharp as anyone, barring perhaps the Australians.

They have also shown an adaptability and quickness-of-thinking that hasn't always been an attribute of England's one-day cricket. When the batting suffered mini wobbles against West Indies and New Zealand there was calm consolidation before the accelerator was pushed again - on both occasions by Morgan. With the ball there has been no one-dimensional game plan and the only aspect we have yet to see is how flexible the batting line-up can be and how the bowlers react of a sustained onslaught.

"This is certainly the most powerful England side that I've played in, definitely," Collingwood said. "When you look at all the guys going down to probably number ten, everyone can hit sixes, so also what the guys are doing with the ball, a lot of credit has to go to them as well because they are thinking for themselves a lot.

"Whereas maybe in the past they were always kind of guided by the captains or whatever but they really are going out there and thinking for themselves and thinking what the oppositions strengths and weaknesses are and adjusting the fields accordingly, that's been one of the crucial things in our development."

Collingwood has admitted he feared for England's future in the tournament as Duckworth-Lewis played a major part in Guyana and all he wanted was a chance for his team to show their full potential.

"It hasn't surprised me at all, but we've got to take all that talent we've got on the team sheet out into the middle," he said. "Thankfully, we've done that [so far]. There were times against Ireland, where we were close to going out of the tournament.

"You were thinking 'all this potential we've got, and we were nearly going out'. We had that little bit of an early scare, which wasn't probably a bad thing - because it kickstarted us into something special."

This is England's second semi-final in a row after they reached the same stage at the Champions Trophy in September. On that occasion they were hammered by nine wickets against Australia, but there is now a far more confident air about the side.

"I think the belief is the key thing," Collingwood said. "We have done a few different things in training, there have been a couple of different selections that have proved crucial as well and overall that has given the side a lot of belief in areas that we were probably a little bit weaker. Once you see these guys on the team sheet its kind of, oh, we can take the opposition on now."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on May 13, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    the better team is sir Lanka there will win

  • Cricinfouser on May 13, 2010, 14:47 GMT

    Australia and England both have played well throughout the tournament and they deserve to be in the finals.i would love to see KP and Morgan bat well today. England should bat first and send Morgan up the order to score a quick fire 40-50.all d best England.

  • Vazzy_09 on May 13, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    I think England are the one team who'll return home with the cup this year. They have done badly in all the ICC events so far but things are looking different for them this time around. Go KP and co send another subcontinent team home.

  • dummy4fb on May 13, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    SL is in good form as showed against India, toss will be crucial. I think SL is favorite today...

  • layya on May 13, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    it's true England has been consistent all along the tournament unlike Sri Lanka and they deserve the cup.But Sri Lanka is the most unpredictable cricket playing nation.they can crash for the lowest total imaginable 2day and play a massive inning next day.SL have players like that.England's new found batting line up is way better but still lacks tons of experience against SL. Most of them haven't even played malinga and mendis.Jayasuriya has a long history against India and England coming into form after a run drought.If he gets going it'll b a disaster.not to mention Dilshan.If England's gonna win essentially they have to bat first.If SL bat first and put up a total more than 160 end is so predictable.hope the better performer wins and we'll see a great cricket match tonight.

  • Ozcricketwriter on May 13, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    Sri Lanka have a better side and will beat England. England are over-rated here and Sri Lanka are under-rated. Sri Lanka have only lost one match - to Australia - and they came closer than anyone else to winning, having them 6/60 before a big recovery. I think that Sri Lanka will win this and they, not England, will be a real challenge to Australia for the title.

  • not-fan-but-fanatic on May 13, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    i think we shud luk at which teams bowlers deliver...the batting luks solid for both....on england's note i hope that both dilshan and jayawardane dont fire 2gtr.....which i think wud be the only way aussies can evn wait for one tough match in the finals

  • dummy4fb on May 13, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    ENGLAND HAD A VERY GUD CHANCE TO WIN THIS CUP. THEY WILL FACE SOME GREAT SL SPINNERS THAT CAN CREATE PROLEM FOR THEM.

    IN THE END THE TEAM THAT CAN PLAY UNDER PRESSURE AND DIDNT MISS CHANCES WILL BE IN THE FINAL.

    ENGLAND 47% CHANCE TO WIN( WEAKNESS TO PLAY SPIN) SRI LANKAN: 53% CAHNCE TO WIN.

  • dummy4fb on May 13, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    though St. Lucia pitch might support lankans a bit more but my intuition says this time its gonna be England in finals..

  • dummy4fb on May 13, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    I think opening partnership is very cruicial for any game of cricket, even it is test cricket, 50 over cricket or T20 cricket. As such team management at St Lucia should give careful consideration to every aspect of the game and past performance of the openers in this very tournament and pick the most suitable opening berth for this all imporant match. My choice of opening combination is Jayawarene and Dilshan. The middle order should be strengthen with a young batsman rather than 40 year old. No one is indespensible for that matter. Sri Lanka should include four specialist bawlers viz. Malinga, Randiv, Mendis and Kulasekera, two alarounders i.e. Matthews and Thisara Perera and 5 specilists batsmen viz. Mahela, Dilshan, Sangakkara, Kapugedara and Dinesh Chandimal or Chinthaka Jayasinghe. Congratulations Sri Lanka!

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