The Reuters global sports blog
Feeble England still can’t get to grips with Twenty20
England may argue that they were unlucky to exit the World Twenty20 following a five-wicket defeat by West Indies but the simple truth is that they batted poorly throughout the tournament.
With the honourable exceptions of Ravi Bopara and Kevin Pietersen, the batsmen completely failed to get to grips with the art of scoring runs in this form of the game.
Call it lack of urgency, lack of innovation or lack of skill but the main problems were a shortage of power and the confidence to take calculated risks.
Dmitri Mascarenhas’s bizarre innings against India summed up England’s problem. The burly all-rounder has proved that he is capable of hitting sixes at international level. After a steady start to the innings against India he was promoted up the order to number four, specifically to take on the Indian slow bowlers and boost the run rate with a few lusty blows. Or so we thought.
Instead, Mascarenhas paddled the ball aimlessly around for ones and twos, facing 27 balls for his 25 runs. Far from actually clearing the ropes, he did not even once attempt a big hit. Momentum lost, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood and James Foster, all far more suited to the type of supporting innings Mascarenhas was playing, perished trying to find the boundaries England so desperately needed.
Against India, England’s bowlers performed heroically to pull off an unlikely victory but 24 hours later the tournament hosts found themselves in a similar position against West Indies. A solid platform laid by Bopara and Pietersen simply cried out for sensible attacking batting to lift England to a formidable total. But England went some 50 balls without hitting a single boundary until Stuart Broad hit the last two deliveries of the innings for six and four. Again, England finished at least 20 runs short of a challenging total and West Indies took full advantage.
Watching from the sidelines were Graham Napier and Eoin Morgan, strangely not given a chance to try to convert their prolific county form to the international arena. Napier is a specialist six-hitter while Morgan is a master of the unorthodox shots which upset bowlers and garner vital runs in Twenty20 cricket.
Given England’s lack of firepower, their continued omission from the team was as baffling as the team’s approach to batting.
PHOTO: England’s Paul Collingwood leaves the field after his dismissal in the defeat by West Indies at the Oval, June 15, 2009. REUTERS/Philip Brown