What Happened Next? The 3rd T20

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Let’s play ‘What Happened Next?’. England are a promising 119-2 off 13 overs chasing a competitive but not insurmountable 202 on a fast scoring ground. Two experienced batsmen are at the crease. Both are well set. Surely a close finish is on the cards?

Nope.

Instead of setting up a grandstand finale, we somehow contrived to lose 8 (that’s right, EIGHT) wickets for the dismal sum of 8 (that’s right EIGHT) runs. It was fifteen minutes of pure, unadulterated, cricketing comedy. Far funnier than anything Question of Sport have ever run.

Although the dismal nature of this latest capitulation was pretty shocking (even by England’s standards) I guess we should’ve expected it. Our cricket team has turned snatching embarrassment from the jaws of respectability into a fine art form over the years.

In retrospect, collapsing from 119-2 to 127 all out is a fitting way to end what has been a thoroughly dismal and often humiliating tour … made worse by the fact that absolutely zero heads have rolled (so far) as a result.

Captain calamity remains entrenched as test captain, our test batting line-up is still full of giant holes, and our limited overs sides – despite occasionally pretending to get their act together – are apparently just as crap as they’ve always been … on today’s evidence at least.

A few days ago I foolishly suggested that our T20 team is possibly better than our test and ODI sides. Excuse me while I grab a serviette and wipe substantial quantities of egg off my face. Our test team have really plumbed the depths this winter but they’ve never lost 8 (that’s right, EIGHT) wickets for 8 (that’s right EIGHT) runs.

I’m not normally one to worry too much about T20 cricket. Some people take it seriously but I’m not that fussed. However, when a game of hit and giggle becomes a game of hit and laugh hysterically at the English, I rapidly lose my sense of humour.

Today the England cricket team were a national embarrassment. And you know what makes it worse? The fact that Andrew Strauss says we’re taking this white ball stuff more seriously these days.

You could’ve bloody fooled me.

James Morgan

27 comments

  • We are constantly told that this England side bats all the way down, and that most of them can bowl. ‘Jack of all trades’ springs to mind.

  • Roy seemed to struggle a bit against the clever change of pace and Root looks a bit pedestrian these days. Maybe he has had a long winter and needs a break. Losing Billings so early did not give England the platform they were looking for. Seems like the test series in a microcosm. Starts off well and gets worse as the series goes on!
    Oh well, Windies here we come!

  • On a related subject. I regularly hear suggestions from our pundits and experts that some of our limited over batsmen should be fast tracked/accommodated in the Test side. It doesn’t seem to matter how often we promote hitters and watch them fail, the clamour continues. When these same players are inconsistent in the shorter formats, I here suggestions that we should persist because they promise great riches but there comes a time when promise needs to be replaced with a measure of delivery/consistency. Shoving players into the test side based on promise when not backed by any measure of consistency even in the shorter formats will continue to weaken our test side.

  • I sat and watched this in disbelief. I am a veteran of many years of watching batting collapses but that beggared belief. I ended up howling with laughter. And yes Captain Calamity is still there in the Test side, we continue to stagger along in all aspects of the game and where is Director, Comma of Cricket in all this? Sitting in a nice cosy office somewhere probably having tea and cakes with Cookie and doing Sweet FA about it. I would get really angry about all this but what is the point. The ECB and all its members will continue to treat us supporters as if we are lower than the dust beneath their chariot wheels.

    Have to say it was great fun with the crowd going potty and singing We Will Rock you! Best afternoon’s entertainment I have had in ages.

  • The spectacular batting collapse is in danger of giving an utterly mediocre performance in the field a free pass. Ali, Stokes and Mills were adequate; Jordan, Plunkett and Rashid woeful. A par score was about 170 and it was the pressure of needing those extra runs that produced the collapse.

    Part of the performance in the field felt very familiar. Moeen Ali has been England’s best bowler in this series – but your main spinner needs to take wickets and not just contain in India. He ended up with personally respectable figures – but the front-line India batsmen were still in when he finished and they could really stick it to the other bowlers with wickets in hand.

    • I disagree actually Simon. I think 180-200 was par on that pitch. Scores of 200+ in T20s have been chased before at this ground. We shouldn’t forget that England were 119 off 13 with wickets in hand. That’s a handy platform.

      • I’m not saying the batting collapse wasn’t dreadful of course. 170 is the IPL average score at the ground (although the average this season is higher) and the pitch had quite a few cracks in it. 170 was what the Indian comms said before the game (Gavaskar said 160). Even if it was a 180-200 pitch, 180 would have left England needing 60 off 7 overs, as opposed to the 80 they actually required. That might sound like I’m putting all the blame on Jordan’s one expensive over – my point is that we also need to look at why he was bowling to India’s No.5 as opposed to their No.7 who would have been less likely to do what Yuvraj did.

        Also, it’s worth noticing that, in a crunch situation, it was India’s experienced players who stood up (Raina, Dhoni, Yuvraj – and England’s best batsman was their most experienced, Morgan). The whole “we’re dropping everyone who won’t play in 2019” mindset of 2015 was crazy. Partly, it was done to stuff the Great Satan, partly because “exciting new era” sounded like a good marketing slogan. Those chickens have well and truly come home to roost.

        • On the ground average of 190 in the IPL season last year, it’s worth adding that this is Kohli’s IPL home ground – ane he made three centuries there last IPL season.

          It’s reasonable to conclude that figure is somewhat inflated!

  • Joe Root’s pre-match comment went somewhere along the lines of “we are now a formidable side across all three formats”

    0-4, 1-2, 1-2 – that’s quite a good pitch for the test captaincy Joe!

  • A pity, I’m travelling right now and missed this game, could have used a few laughs yesterday. I expect Morgan couldn’t blame the umpires for this one, especially since he got a freebie with the wicket of Rahul off a no ball. Good to see that England are capable of collapsing in all formats of the game, warms my heart.

  • I’m most disappointed in England – losing 8/8 is only the 2nd worst eight-wicket collapse in international cricket history. New Zealand had lost their last eight wickets for five runs in a Test against Australia in Wellington in 1946. You could’ve blinking well taken the record off us, just as a nice gesture like. 😉

  • As I said elsewhere, you can’t first moan about our limited overs side being old-fashioned, dour, risk-averse and pedestrian, only to then complain when something like this happens when they throw caution to the wind.

    Chasing big totals require taking big risks, big risks occasionally lead to losing 8 for 8.

    We needed 12 an over with most of the easy scoring options cut off. Genuine question: what would you have preferred happen? A period of careful consolidation during which the game was effectively abandoned as the required rate climbed beyond 20 an over? Batsmen batting for red-inkers? A “respectable” finish on 150-5?

By James Morgan

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