England 195-5 (20 overs). Australia 168-9.
Yesterday was the last Saturday of the English summer; once September comes, the rugby season arrives and the nights seem to roll in. We’re left with just the dregs of the cricket season – a few ODIs which will always seem largely irrelevant when they’re played after the test series.
Therefore, it was great to fire up the BBQ for last time, sit back with a few beers, and watch England slog Australia’s medium pacers around Durham – revenge for Finch’s day of destruction at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.
Although England’s team selection was both surprising and unsurprising at the same time – surprising because we made exactly the same mistakes as the last game, unsurprising because England often get stubborn when criticised – at the least the chosen players executed their plans at lot better.
The much maligned Michael Lumb, again keeping Carberry out of the team, played one of his better innings for England. In the process he lifted his average from a paltry 19 to a more respectable 23.His opening partnership with Alex Hales – who is now ranked as the best T20 batsman in the world – set up the victory. Chris Gayle might disagree with the rankings, but there’s no doubt that Hales is becoming remarkably consistent in this format. His 94 off 61 balls might not have been Finch-like, but it gave England a great platform.
Late pyrotechnics from Wright and Morgan saw us reach 195-5 in 20 overs. It looked like enough – as long as Finch didn’t go berserk again.
Thankfully, he didn’t. England took early wickets and Australia fell further and further behind the rate.
This is the bit where Jade Dernbach usually gets some stick. We’ve seen it all before in ODIs: England get into a great position, but then a wayward spell from the most tattooed man in the northern hemisphere releases all the pressure.
This time, however, Jade delivered the goods. Is it just me, or does he seem to bowl less slower balls now? When he chooses his moments to deliver that back-of-the-hand leggie, it genuinely hoodwinks batsmen.
Dernbach should continue to play to his stengths: bowling with good pace, and using the slowie as variation, not the norm. I would go as far as giving him TFT man of the match award, but once my Mrs said how attractive she thought he was, that was never a realistic option. I can’t compete with a bloke with well groomed hair (or any hair at all for that matter), but I can churlishly deny him a MOM award from a blog he’s never heard of.
The only real bright spot for Australia was the performance of David Warner, who made a welcome 53. The Aussies promptly dropped him from their ODI squad.
One can only assume that Ted Dexter or Peter May has become their chairman of selectors. Idiocy like this used to afflict English cricket. Thank heavens the boot’s on the other foot these days.