Cricket’s Holy Grail – 6: Mercurial England




World Cup

World Cup

If I have to choose the most unlucky team of this edition of the game then it is undoubtedly England. They are somewhat chokers alike Proteas. They work hard only in the critical stages and lose out on simpler occasions. They had reached the finals, semis finals and quarter finals many times but have failed to capitalize on this. The same story was reflected by the current Englishmen also. Despite an Ashes win they were low on confidence. They always paved the way for others to lead the match and then try to claw back, but it’s not so easy to come back in always. Their performance always lacked consistency and were impulsive in their game in each and every match.

The tournament for Englishmen started with a victory over Netherlands but it was not a promising victory of what the world might have expected. First the English bowlers let Netherlands to score heavily on their bowling. Thanks to Doeschate who scored a brilliant century to toss the game up. He then also picked up two crucial wickets to bring back Holland back into the game, by that time the game was almost won by the England. But this game certainly raised the eyebrows of former England cricketers.

The match against India was a very tough contest. It was a match between two weak bowling attacks. Indians were playing with Chawla and Patel; both of them were yet to find their rhythm. While England were lacking the Expertise of Broad and Anderson who was found clueless on how to bowl on Sub continental pitches. So First Indians made merry of their attack with Sachin scoring a marvelously crafted century and each of the middle order contributing. And In reply Strauss led from the front to smash and 158 off 145 balls to take away any chance of victory from India. The middle order crumbled and some power hitting by lower order helped them tie the match.

Followed up was the first upset of the World Cup England lost to Ireland. The England were forced to dance on the Celtic music by Kevin o Brien. The Ireland chased down 327 with ease and silenced their critics. Trott and Bell’s knock went in vain as they succumbed to hold on to a win. They somewhat saved their pride by beating South Africa in a close encounters. Thanks a lot to the dual attack of Swann and Broad. The Proteas are better chokers then England and it was evident from this loss.

The next match against the Bangladesh was another upset for them. This time not even the batting order fired and they were left reeling on the outcome of other results to qualify for the quarters. Chasing modest target of 225 Bangladesh finally reached home with the loss of 8 wickets. But, a win is a win does not matter how it comes for minnows. Against the West Indies they somehow clinched a win. The target of West Indies was not too much and instead of an England I Win I would rather say that West Indies lost.

The Quarter finals against the Sri Lanka reflected a one sided contest. The English men scored 229 somehow on a crumbling pitch with the loss of 6 wickets. It was Trott who came to the crease put his head down and played a marvelous innings of his true caliber. But, in reply the Sri Lankans opener did not even let the rest of the batting to bother about the target. Dilshan was the man already in form and Tharanga also came to the party that helped them cruise to wickets with all 10 wickets intact. None of their bowlers were able to put a halt on them.

The same problem of holding on to your nerves has coasted the world cup to many teams. Before the start of the World Cup, Darren Gough while giving interview to a local newspaper was found quoting that “England can beat India any day of the year”. Now Indians are the Champ and England are left with their old senile chaps.

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