World Twenty20 2012: Lessons as England book place in Super Eights
World Twenty20 2012: Matt Cansick looks at the talking points as we move towards the business end of the tournament
Big hitters find their touch
Brendon McCullum’s blistering 123 set the tone for a day of big hitting, as Luke Wright came agonisingly close to completing a century of his own with an unbeaten 99. Good, clean hitting – particularly in the form of maximums – is what the fans want to see, and both players obliged as they provided platforms from which their respective teams sealed comfortable victories. New Zealand know what they are doing when it comes to limited overs cricket, and in McCullum they have one of the best Twenty20 batsmen around.
Cream rises to the top
With South Africa and England having now booked their places in the Super Eights, it appears that the sides most expected to reach the latter stages of the tournament will safely navigate the initial group stage. Everyone wants to see the very best teams go head to head in a World Cup, and assuming there are no shocks in the next few days this is what we will get. This could make for some fascinating contests as we head towards the knockout stages.
Nail biter still required
Despite the world record figures posted by both Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis and New Zealand’s McCullum, Test Match Special’s Vic Marks pointed out that what this tournament really needs is “…a really cracking game where no-one knows the result with four balls to go”. This is one of the most appealing aspects of Twenty20 cricket, and with the Super Eight stage just around the corner we should start to see closer finishes as teams become more evenly matched. Before that, both Sri Lanka v South Africa and Australia v West Indies have the potential for fireworks.
England on track
A win was imperative, but the manner in which England saw off Afghanistan was a far cry from their slip-ups against the likes of the Netherlands and Ireland in previous one-day tournaments. Led by Wright’s impressive innings, Stuart Broad’s side ensured that a second defeat for Afghanistan sent them home, while defending champions England progressed with a game to spare. They will still be aiming to carry their recent good form into the match against India and hit the ground running in the next phase of the competition.