As sure as the autumnal breeze that sweeps past as September comes to a close is the solidity of England’s impressive cricketing form; or so it seemed. Following on from an utter domination of the West Indies at the Kia Oval on Friday, England returned to the same venue, against the same opponents expecting, quite frankly, the same result.
As the West Indies limped to 113 from their twenty overs, it seemed beyond doubt that England’s lengthy batting line-up with Jos Buttler as low as seven, would stroll to victory, just as they had done in the prior game, but the cricketing gods do love to shower a shock upon a complacent side, and in this case, England were the unfortunate victims.
…showing the sort of impressive mental fortitude…
Friday’s game saw the West Indies bowled out for 125 with England’s part-timers, Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel playing the star bowling roles, highlighting the impressive depth in this young and vibrant England line up. In response to the un-imposing West Indies score, up stepped Nottinghamshire talisman, and England new boy, Alex Hales, who accompanied by Craig Kieswetter, carried his bat to win the game with both men not out on scores of 62 and 58 respectively; Hales showing the sort of impressive mental fortitude that has previously been marked in recent efforts by Jonny Bairstow.
Following up such a good performance is never easy, and perhaps the young naivety of the current England T20 side showed, with the sort of batting collapse that had seemed a thing of the past. In truth such events are never going to be separated from the inherently aggressive format that is T20, and England have shown a great deal of promise in the raft of young talent now integrated in the setup. Sunday’s loss will only serve as a great learning curve for Andy Flower’s men, and I have no doubt that they will come back bigger and better.
Images courtesy of Craig Kieswetter