It was typical of the English summer that, the week before the ICC World Twenty20 began, the country was bathed in glorious sunshine.

But by the time we were ready to go at Lord’s the predictable rain clouds had arrived and this summer spectacular had a rather soggy start.

But that was nothing compared to the fireworks that would follow the rather subdued opening ceremony. England, who made a decent start thanks to Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright, seemed to fall into a collective slumber, and without big hitters Flintoff and Pietersen fell well short of what they should have achieved with their 20 overs.

The complacent malaise spread to England’s bowlers, who seemed content to float through their overs, assuming that the Dutch batsmen would get themselves out sooner or later. But as the game progressed and England’s small total appeared in sight, the full horror of what was occurring in the English gloom began to hit the players, but by then it was too late.

The Dutch deserved their win for their sheer will and desire alone. For England an all too familiar early exit from a major tournament was on the cards. A defeat to Pakistan would finish the job off, to go out of their own tournament after just three days is impressive even by English standards.

But it was a completely different side that took to the field at the Oval on Sunday. They were much more clinical with the bat, aided by the return of the half-fit Kevin Pietersen and a swashbuckling 34 of 16 balls from Luke Wright.

With the ball the returning Graeme Swann worked in tandem with young Adil Rashid, slowing the Pakistani run-rate in the crucial middle stage of the innings. Stuart Broad showed tremendous character to bounce back after his Dutch nightmare to bowl with aggression and accuracy and help England to a very comfortable 48 run victory.

No we shouldn’t get carried away, this was a Pakistan side who lacked purpose and whose captain, Younis Khan, described this tournament as ‘fun’. But England’s progress and improvement is something to celebrate, for the competition if nothing else, the hosts bowing out early is disastrous for any tournament.
Trickier challenges undoubtedly lie ahead, but after their Lord’s nightmare they should be grateful just to be involved.

england tom mallows blog

Enough said about last nights opening match.

But something else that needs to be said, or asked, is whether England will break some sort of record for exiting the tournament in the shortest time ever for a host.

That said, here is a list of Englands earlier fuckups in major tournaments to keep the -england-are-so-shit- vibe going.

England v Zim, 1992 WC, lost by 9 runs in Albury. In a match where Goochy and Hick both went for globes to that chicken farmer fella.

England v SL, 1996 WC QF, previous WC finalist against a team that had never made it out of the group stages. Oh the glory of that six off De Freitas hitting that satellite dish.

England v Zim, 2003 WC, of course England never even showed up for that one.

England v Zim, 1995, BnH, Lost by 19 runs, even a once in a blue moon Darren Gough 5fer couldn’t pull it off.

England v Australia A, 1995, BnH, Oh the shame, not even a bloody international team but it might as well been with Haydos, Martyn, Ponting,Langer,Blewett and Bevan in that team.

Ok so maybe it wasn’t that big a surprise when they lost that in hindsight.

england

Ok I’m sorry but I had to get all the Onion-related puns out of the way before we move on, at least it kept the tabloid hacks busy for a few minutes. As did rumours that Phil Mustard and Ryan Sidebottom will join forces with Onions in an amusingly titled surname XI.

Puns aside, a victory for England within three days is something not to be sniffed at, even if it was to be expected. The early summer conditions and the lush green-tinged pitch was always going to favour England’s eager pack of seam bowlers. But still the boys had a job to do after the winter of discontent.

The England innings was, of course, dominated by Bopara. His cool, calm and collected innings of 143 is just what England needed if they want to have a settled batting line-up this summer. The other contenders have hardly been covering themselves in glory.

Of the bowlers, well Graham Onions will deservedly take many of the plaudits. After a nervy start a magic three-wicket over in the first innings set England on their way while a well executed inswinger removed Devon Smith’s middle stump in the second innings. He will smell more wickets in the second test, but will he have as much success against the Aussies?

A special mention also needs to go Graeme Swann. In his first home cricket international, he grabbed three crucial wickets in each innings as well as an impressive knock of 63. As much as I like Monty Panesar, his infectious enthusiasm for the game has won him a lot of fans, I feel Swann is a much more reliable option, his ability to hold a bat is a bonus too.

Tim Bresnan can consider himself a little unlucky to have bowled so few overs. But as England turned the screw on the tourists Strauss couldn’t afford to be sentimental. He should get his chance in the next game at Chester-Le-Street but whether he will remain in the side come July is much more uncertain.

So all in all a good three days’ work (spare a thought for the 20,000 people who had Saturday tickets, why did it have to start on Wednesday???) and the boys should go and seal a series win in the North-East.

But it should only be treated as a warm-up for the bigger challenges that lie ahead, after all the Windies didn’t put up much resistance – Lord’s in chilly May is a long way from Jamaica and it showed (just wait till they get to Durham!)

But after the winter we have had, it seems a safe cricket bet that any win is most welcome.

england

This is a Video that has been sent out to bloggers and the like, apparently by the ECB, to get the masses enthused about the Twenty20 WC.

Its an interesting clip and we like it.

Monkeying around at the Cricket-We think it describes 2020 cricket exceptionally well.

Don’t you?

PS- Giles Clarke is NOT one of those Gorillas. True Story.

ECB england

Well Micheal, as Barney from How I met you mother would say.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

We will endeavour to report all of MV’s innings and just how good his form is leading up to the Ashes.

In the lead up to Yorkshires’ first county match against Durham last week, Vaughan had a couple of innings that seemed to show he was in the ‘kind of form that might tempt the ECB’ to pick him for the Ashes.

Form leading up to the Durham match

29 v Lancs, pre-season one dayer.

43 v Durham, FTP one dayer, bowled through the gate.

All this ‘form’ amounted to the usual story  against Durham where he scored a couple of  20s. Dismissed to Onions and Harmy, caught behind both times.

He may have been a little unlucky in the first innings but his form at best was sketchy. Uncertainty outside the off stump was enough for Onions to send the former English captain back in the 2nd dig.

40 odd runs is hardly going to set the world on fire, even for the weird selection policies adopted by the ECB.

Vaughans desire to be picked for the WI series test squad was a far fetched dream. This is pretty unlikely to happen now, even with the kind of romantic relationship he has with the ECB and the English Media, who make you feel like he is only a ‘classy cover drive’ laden 40 odd from being back in the English set up.

Sorry MV, but on current form you shouldn’t be anywhere near the ‘The England’.

Vaughans next outing should be on Sunday v Sussex. All the best Micheal.

“Form is temporary, class is…”

county cricket ECB england micheal vaughan yorkshire