Saturday, March 17, 2007

England rediscover their natural game

Yes. We lost again. Just like the good old days. I can’t say that many of us our surprised. But it’s a pity as their performance was rather spineless. The Kiwis didn’t really do anything special. They just turned up, bowled some good balls and tapped the ball around. Nothing spectacular. They just waited for England’s inevitable slump.

And what a slump: England lost four wickets for five in a rather nostalgic middle order collapse. There was some nice batting at the death from Paul Nixon and Plunkers, but 209 was never enough. A slow pitch and poor fielding saw New Zealand ease home.

This doesn’t mean the World Cup is over for the English - they still will go into the Super 8 (albeit with less points). However, the great “Play Slow” plan was not productive. As I predicted (sorry, smugness getting me again) this strategy is dangerous if you lose quick wickets - as you have not accumulated a buffer of runs. If you invest batsmen’s energies in “getting their eye in” you are totally reliant on them staying in to covert this into a decent score. England’s batsman failed, and thus the innings was a disaster.

More importantly, they need to work out how to play on the St. Lucia ground and, ultimately, develop of game that is well-suited and productive on Caribbean pitches. Otherwise, the dynamic Kenyans will have us for breakfast.

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