World Twenty20 2012: Lessons as Super Eights await cricket’s top sides
Matt Cansick takes a look at at the talking points ahead of the Super Eights stage, which starts on Thursday
Luck deserts Irish
Events conspired to deny Ireland a shot at claiming their spot in the Super Eights. The bad weather that had already thwarted several games in the last week returned to ensure an early exit for William Porterfield’s men. In truth, 129-6 was a below par return from 19 overs, but a few early wickets would have put the West Indies under pressure, particularly as they could not afford to lose. Porterfield admitted his side were not at their best in the tournament as a whole, but qualifying from a group including the West Indies and Australia was always going to be a tough ask.
Usual suspects battle it out
All the teams that were expected to qualify for the second stage did so with relative ease, and we are left with two groups that will both be very hard to get out of. In Group E, defending champions England face hosts Sri Lanka, with the West Indies and dark horses New Zealand completing the line up. Group F looks marginally stronger, with Pakistan’s eight wicket victory over Bangladesh cementing their place alongside Australia, South Africa and old adversaries India. On paper, all these games have the potential to go to the wire, so we can only hope that the weather does not play as big a part in this stage of the competition.
England aim to bounce back
The hammering by India has served as a serious wake up call for England, and they will be keen to get straight back on the horse against the West Indies. Captain Stuart Broad has backed his batsmen’s ability to play spin, while opener Craig Kieswetter has urged his team-mates to be prepared to “score ugly runs”. Ultimately, the kind of form shown by Luke Wright against Afghanistan will need to be rediscovered and quickly, particularly with the likes of Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum awaiting them in the Super Eights. In light of the surprising omission of Samit Patel for the game against India, it will be interesting to see how England approach their team selection for the next game.
Consistency now the key
Three games lie between the remaining sides and a place in the semi finals. Slip ups, such as that suffered by England, will be altogether more costly in the Super Eights, particularly with the strength of opponent that is likely to await the runners-up in each group. Sri Lanka will hope to draw on home support as they try to negotiate what is arguably the less daunting of the two groups, and England will be looking to respond to a group stage defeat. Five straight wins is a tough ask at this level, but the team that manages to pull it off will see themselves crowned as the World Twenty20 champions of 2012.