A tournament that was supposed to have been played in a different format…A championship that had so far only been won by an Asian team…A World Cup that would be won by the inventors of the game, England, finally after decades of trying…
Cricket is the game of glorious uncertainties and the 2010 T20 World Cup had them aplenty.
Originally, an ICC Champions Trophy 50 over tournament was scheduled to have been held in the Caribbean in 2010. However, after the 2008 Champions Trophy was postponed in Pakistan due to security fears(something, which thankfully has been eased a decade later), a quickly put together T20 trophy was organised less than a year after the last one.
The first two trophies were won by India in 2007 and Pakistan in 2009 and both were again among the favourites along with hosts the West Indies and Australia. England were rank outsiders, with their reputation for “being too negative” not seen as able to cope with the fast paced nature of the shortest and newest format of the game.
Ironically, like the previous two formats, it started in England, so go figure…
The first stage saw the 12 teams divided into four groups of three and the English were drawn with hosts team West Indies and an ever improving Ireland. Not an easy task it must be said and the men in blue needed a fair share of good fortune to get past that stage(rather the use of the word fortune than “luck”).
Both of England’s matches were affected by rain, neither of them went the full 40 overs and neither of them, they managed to win.
Versus the West Indies, they made a daunting 191-5 when they batted with current limited overs captain Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright leading the charge with 55 and 45 respectively, both achieved scoring at over 150. The rains came and then that old annoying Duckworth-Lewis system came into play;which calculated that the hosts required 60 runs from six overs. Chris Gayle smashed a 12 ball 25 to defeat England with a ball to spare.
Their match against Ireland on the next day saw England again bat first. They scraped to 120-8 in their allotted 20 overs, with Morgan again proving the key, with a top score of 45. The Irish were 14-1 after 3.3 overs, the rain poured, the match was abandoned and England were through based on a better net run rate. Oh cricket and it’s complicated rules and regulations.
England skipper Paul Collingwood in the aftermath said “The rain did not help us against the West Indies, but it did in this match.”
Ok, so England were through to the Super 8’s stage, but surely their “true form and nature” would lead to their inevitable exit from the tournament? Well, nothing could be further from the truth, as they powered past their opponents. They displayed all their talents, tactics and tenacity in the second group stage and even managed to have super star batsman Kevin Pietersen fly back home for the birth of his child and not skip a beat.
Before he left though, the dashing right-hander showed his modern and exciting way of batting starting with an unbeaten 73 from 52 balls as he guided his team’s chase of Pakistan’s total of 147. Earlier Michael Yardy, Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad had each picked up two wickets apiece with Yardy, in particular, being especially economical, going at just 4.75 runs per over, phenomenal in T20 cricket terms.
Pietersen who was on loan at Surrey from Hampshire at the time, then cracked a typically stroke filled 53, as he added 94 with opener Craig Kieswetter who hit a run a ball 41, as they reached 168-7 versus South Africa. The Proteas never got going and were bowled out for just 129, with the bowling superb again, as even Tim Bresnan, who did not manage to get a wicket, only conceding 14 runs from three overs.
A couple days later and with Pietersen back home, the English overcame New Zealand by three wickets in what was effectively a dead rubber as they had already finished atop the group. They chased down the Kiwis total of 149 with five deliveries remaining led by Morgan’s 40. They were through to the semi-finals playing a brand of cricket that was foreign to what the world and they themselves had not been accustomed to…It was exciting, it was care-free and without the usual pressure.
However, now they would be tested in the last four as they were to face Sri Lanka and their much-vaunted batting line-up. Surely, this was when the wheels would come off and England would return home after another “glorious failure”? Hell. No.
The Lankans batted first and were 47-4 after nine overs, as Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were back in the pavilion with none of them managing to even reach 20 runs. It was left to all-rounder Angelo Matthews to make the total somewhat respectable, as he garnered 58 from 45, as his team could only reach 128.
It was never going to be enough facing an England firing on all cylinders…Kieswetter, Lumb, and the returning Pietersen all scored past 30, as England cruised to the total with a full four overs to spare.England were into their fifth ICC final, but following defeats at the ODI World Cups of 1979, 1987, 1992 and the Champions Trophy of 2004, the first and last of which were at home, their trophy room remained bare.
In said final, they would face the “old enemy” Australia at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. The men from Down Under had a perfect record heading into the showpiece event, as they displayed their ever-growing reputation in T20 cricket and excepting for their semi-final victory over Pakistan, when they needed a Mike Hussey special of 18 runs from the final over, there were won all very comfortably.
England won the toss and decided to bowl first, obviously confident enough in chasing down whatever total their arch-rivals could muster.
Their start in the field was superb as they had the Aussies 8-3 after just a couple of overs with power hitters Shane Watson, David Warner and Brad Haddin all going cheaply. Sidebottom and a run out the way of those dismissals. A mini-revival for the men in yellow with David Hussey scoring 59 and a quick-fire 30 from Craig White gave the Aussies 147 runs to try and defend.
At their turn at the crease, England overcame the early loss of Lumb’s wicket, as yet again Kieswetter and Pietersen powered their batting line-up. The pair put on a match-winning partnership of 111 off 68 deliveries, with both batsmen battering the Aussie bowlers to all parts of the Kensington Oval on that hot sunny Saturday.
Both men fell within three runs of each other to leave England still requiring a further 27 runs for the win. They would be no nervous moments, no batting collapse, no anxiety for English fans, as Morgan and Collinwood would see their team through. Fittingly, it was captain Collinwood who was so influential in terms of team selection and a change of mentality within the squad that hit the winning runs…He did it in style too, smashing three consecutive boundaries off Watson to seal the victory.
FINALLY! The inventors of the sport had conquered the world and they did it in a way that was foreign to them traditionally, but one that their long-suffering fans and neutrals alike would have appreciated.
Playing attacking, entertaining and freedom cricket had won England the international trophy they so longed for after decades of heartache and it was fully deserved.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images