Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The brooding heavens

The cricket gods, perched high in Mount ICC-pus (Dubai) are stirring up a fascinating contest. Can England somehow manage another win to see their crumbling cadaver of a team over the line in one final, spasmodic throe of twitching energy?

I doubt it. However, the England vs. South Africa game should be an interesting one as, enticingly, this match genuinely could go either way. Both sides are flying in the bi-plane of under-achievement in the skies of unrealised potential: the thuderbolt of failure could strike at any time. However, this is yet another “must win” game, and victory means automatic promotion into the semi-finals.

On paper, the Saffers are a stronger team: recently topping the number one spot in world rankings and having lost to England only once out of their last seven games. They also have the advantage of having better players.

And yet they have looked rather lack lustre. Or, as some have it, a bit podgy. Indeed, England, apparently, have been playing really well in the nets. Whenever the net bowler trundles along, they say, our batsman hit it. Against this fearsome training record, all sides will be trembling.

Let’s see what the Predictoron has to say about it all.


England will beat South Africa at Barbados by 35 runs.

Having been put into bat, Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell will share a slow 50 run partnership, before Vaughan gets bowled. Andrew Strauss will chip in with a useful 32, but further wickets will leave England on 98-3. Kevin Pieterson will hit a quick 42, Paul Collingwood 31 and Andrew Flintoff not much. This big hitting, and lively lower order support, will see England post 253 for eight.

South Africa will start brightly, with both the openers passing 30. However, panic begins to grip the Proteas’ ranks as Flintoff (4-38) is introduced into the attack and immediately takes wickets. With Vaughan (0-40) and Monty Panesar (1-37) tying down one end, the South African batsman get increasingly desperate against the Lancashire all-rounder, and quickly succumb to him. The loss of wickets will move them further and further behind the run chase, and, therefore, lose.


Well, you heard it from here first. England will win! It’s almost enough to give you a seizure.

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