England waltzed to another victory in the Super 8s yesterday, making it two impressive victories in two, but just how good is the team at the moment?
It goes without saying that Pietersen and Morgan have been superb, KP yesterday especially looked like the man of old, playing with aggression and freedom that we haven't seen for perhaps two years. But the rest of the batting leaves a little to be desired. Have the opening pair provided the impetus we craved? Well yes and no, Michael Lumb has recorded an impressive strike rate of 150, but averages just 17, and though Kieswetter averages 9 higher, he has a strike rate of only just 100. He needs to play with a bit less fear and a bit more freedom and he'll be just right.
That said, twice in the tournament we've put on 60+ in the powerplays, and previously that would've been unheard of, so lets just say that the openers have worked and should be persisted with. So leaving aside the brilliant KP and Morgan, the next issue is the middle order.
Yes Wright performed well in that first match, but has been suspect ever since, and Collingwood has been a disaster, he has now recorded 185 runs in three World T20 tournaments at an average of 13, a lamentable record by any measure. Never has a man been so due a score, and without KP in the final Super 8s game, he'll need one.
Then my real bugbear, Tim Bresnan at number seven is insane, he is neither a big hitter or a clever maneuverer of the ball, give me Yardy or Swann or even Broad higher up the order - but the fact remains that our lower middle order is weak and should - god forbid - both KP and Morgan fail in future, we will be in real trouble. And the Sidebottom/Anderson debate is being had at length elsewhere, but I think Sid might have settled that one decisively yesterday.
All of that said, we have performed well in the tournament and we are on the cusp of our first World T20 semi-final, so I shouldn't be complaining at all. I think should we make it to the semis, we're looking strong. Australia look awesome, but our batsmen love pace on the ball and aren't so hot against spin. If it comes down to a match up between those two, I would be curiously confident of England's chances!
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