Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can England go all the way?

It is an unusual thing for an England cricket fan to experience, but after another convincing win at the World Twenty20 in the West Indies, there is growing belief the side can win the whole competition.

Too often in the past England have stumbled along in major tournaments and relied on other results to drag them through to the later rounds. With Pakistan's win over South Africa ensuring England's progress this time round, the stage was set for a New Zealand win that would have sealed their place in the last four and highlighted England’s deficiencies.

But instead, England romped home far comfortably than the final score line suggested. Their progress in the Caribbean has been smooth and efficient, suggesting England have finally cracked the shortest form of the game. Indeed, this is reflected in the cricket betting which now makes them second favourites for the competition.

Coach Andy Flower certainly seems to have hit upon a winning formula in his team selection. The long wait for an effective opening partnership in this form of the game looks to be over, with Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb's lusty blows at the top of the innings finally giving England a consistent platform for victory that has been absent in previous matches.

In the middle order Owain Morgan has provided a steady influence, while Tim Bresnan's blossoming international career was highlighted by a miserly one for 20 with the ball before a battling 23 not out with the bat.

The presence of two spinners, with Greame Swann and Michael Yardy working in tandem, also adds balance of the team - the suffocation of the South African batsmen was a case in point.

Some doubts still remain, the form of captain Paul Collingwood is worrying and the departure of Kevin Pietersen is definitely a blow, but England's performances so far suggest they have hit upon a winning system.

If they can maintain the momentum gain in the Caribbean so far, there no reason why they can't go on and end their 35 year wait for an international trophy.

Meanwhile, in football news, England remain second favourites in the World Cup 2010 betting after Fabio Capello named a provisional 30-man squad for the tournament.

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