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March 16, 2009

England Rue Another Collapse

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise when England’s batsmen collapse
in front of our very eyes any more does it? It just seems normal. The
England cricket team often capitulate with the bat and get a
hammering. That’s how it works isn’t it?

The latest horrific batting performance came over the weekend when,
batting first in a Twenty20 International against West Indies, England
were bowled out for 121 in the final over.

The collapse followed a relatively decent start with Steven Davis
impressing as English reached 55-1. There were then two moments which
set the tone for the rest of the innings.

First, Davis walked across his stumps in ridiculously unnecessary
fashion and was clean bowled by Dwayne Bravo. Then, Kevin Pietersen
got an absolutely horrific LBW decision from umpire Norman Malcolm.
Despite the fact that the ball was blatantly missing leg stump, KP was
sent on his way and England never recovered.

Only Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss made double figures after
this as the West Indies ran riot. It was a desperate batting
performance from England and one which suggests that the One Day
Internationals are going to be far from an enjoyable time.

The most annoying thing was that 150 would have been a decent enough
score. Ravi Bopara didn’t need to try and smash the ball out of the
ground, Davis didn’t need to walk across his stumps and Collingwood
didn’t need to go for the big shot.

Even when Strauss and Collingwood were together at 82-4 there was an
opportunity to bat sensibly and get the score to around 150. It is
always easier to score quickly in the final three or four overs with
wickets in hand, after all.

Inevitably, West Indies chased the target down with relative ease.
They only lost four wickets and achieved the required total with two
overs to spare. In Twenty20 cricket – that’s a hammering.

Next up for England is the ODI series which starts on Friday. It is an
opportunity to salvage some pride after a rather horrific winter.
However, unless the return of Andrew Flintoff can inspire them enough
to win a few games, this just doesn’t seem at all likely.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about England cricket


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