Cricket World Cup 2015: Three talking points as England lose

Sam Rogers takes a look back at the opening weekend of Cricket World Cup

By Sam Rogers

More of the same from struggling England

After a difficult time of it in coloured clothing, England had a morale-boosting win over a lacklustre West Indies side to give them a slight cheer before heading into their match with co-hosts Australia. That’s where the positivity ended unfortunately as England were once again soundly beaten by the old enemy in the fifty-over format. A solid start with the ball was undone by some poorly executed short bowling and variations of pace that lacked the surprise factor. A first over drop of Aaron Finch came back to bite them as the opener hit a majestic hundred to take the game away from Eoin Morgan’s side. One high point was James Taylor’s brilliant 98 but that will fail to cover up inefficiencies of his team-mates to construct a performance in this format.

Batsmen dominating in early matches as big scores racking up

In the first four completed matches of this year’s tournament, the lowest total posted was India’s 300 in their 76-run demolition of bitter rivals Pakistan. Australia’s co-hosts opened the tournament with 331-6 in beating Sri Lanka, while the Aussies themselves plundered 342-9 against England. Perhaps the most incredible was South Africa. Having slipped to 83-4 against lowly minnows Zimbabwe, the Proteas put on a ODI record unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 258 through David Miller (138*) and JP Duminy (115*) to post 339 from their 50 overs. Unsurprisingly the sides posting these imposing totals have all won their opening encounters in this year’s tournament, showing early on that scoreboard pressure is a massive factor already. Equally, sides are showing that losing wickets early isn’t the end of the world if they manage to rebuild and create a platform for the final phases of the innings. Bowling sides need to keep their concentration till the end and not think they are home and hosed when they have their opponents 80-4.

Associate nations already showing their worth in the tournament

All the talk in between World Cup tournaments is about the format of the event and whether the smaller nations should be involved and to what extent. Yet every time we get into the World Cup, there are some performances that show the value of having these part-time sides in the tournament and what a spectacle they create. Zimbabwe, who do still play Test cricket, were the first to give one of the big-guns a run for their money, reducing South Africa to 83-4 and despite allowing their opponents post 339, the Zimbabweans had caused some problems without doubt. Another top performance came from perennial shock-causers Ireland. Having beaten Pakistan and England at previous tournaments, they were less than concerned about lining up against the West Indies who looked out of sorts against England and Scotland in the warm-ups. They showed their willingness for a battle when they had the Windies 90-5 thanks to the wily left-arm spin of George Dockrell, as well as some brilliant fielding as a collective unit. Whatever your standpoint, there is no doubting the associate nations have their place on the world stage and add value to the Cricket World Cup.

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