T20 World Cup – England v South Africa

So here we are. A “must win”. They are all “must wins” from here on in. It’s gone from “we can beat anyone on our day” and “being young and exciting” to “a potentially disappointing early exit”. Hang about. Have we been here before?

It’s funny. The whole thing is funny. The press are just caught between two stools. Of course, we can win against South Africa, but then again, we are probably more likely to lose based on recent performances against them. Those five limited overs losses on the bounce seem to have some major significance now.

The key message for me from yesterday was how a loathed individual, pretty much slaughtered (rightly) for his antics in Australia, is still picked by the most dysfunctional board, arguably, in top level international cricket, and wins the game for the West Indies. He has the label “T20 gun for hire” attached as a disparaging description. He has a double hundred in a World Cup ODI, and cares so little for test cricket that he’s made the effort to make a triple century in Galle, of all places (as well as the one at St.John’s). He’s an individual talent, a genius, a matchwinner, a non-conformist, an arsehole, if you want. But he won his side a big World Cup match. Meanwhile, you fill in the rest.

If you want your team to be a corporate, well-drilled set of altar boys, I suggest you might get to wait a fair amount of time to win major awards. We treat our time as #1 in Test Cricket for a year as some sort of climbing of Mount Olympus. Australia, for one, must be laughing their heads off at that. Especially as in that time we lost 3-0 to Pakistan and 2-0 at home to South Africa. Now we have a bunch of lovely, likeable lads, that the whole of England should get behind or there is something wrong with you. The most major indiscretion is someone punching a locker room door, for heaven’s sake. There’s individual genius in there – we’ve seen it in Stokes, we’ve seen it in Buttler, and even seen a bit in Morgan. We have a world class player in all formats in Joe Root. But Stokes aside, I don’t see any bastard in them. They all seem to be perfectly delighted to be there, playing some good cricket at times, but would you put money on any of them playing an innings like Gayle in that scenario?

As I said, things can turn around. I’m not daft. But I’m not hopeful either. However it pans out, it won’t matter. An early group exit will be put down as another piece of experience for a young and improving team, and now we can put this distraction away and concentrate on 50 overs cricket. A semi-final placing will be “good progress” and the coaches will be lauded, and the ECB hierarchy quietly content. Anything more than that and the eg0-less Strauss will be given plenty to have an ego about. There will be more puffery than a pipe smokers club.

Meanwhile, and isn’t it still fun, that those who wish we’d all just shut up about Pietersen carry on going on about him. The poor lambs are now offended by his presence on Sky’s coverage. One person today said, and I quote…

“putting KP on for an England match is like putting Jimmy Saville in charge of a children’s party”

It really isn’t. I’d evaluate your life if you start writing tossery like that. But while I have time for some of those commenting on the issue on Twitter (it just amuses me that the likes of us are accused of “tenacity” when the same old lines are repeated on the other side of the argument) it’s this tendency to just ignore the underlying issue and hope it just goes away. It clearly isn’t. It clearly won’t. Going to safe spaces, purging BTL of the naysayers, isn’t going to work. It just isn’t. I have no hope of KP playing for England again – and you know that, and the others know it too if they take time out and read the blog. I have some hope that continuing to highlight the awful behaviour of our wonderful cricket board, and the assistance of a supine press, illustrated in the utmost clarity by the Guardian and it’s laughable cricket correspondent, but aided an abetted by our perennial favourites at the Mail, Indy and Sun, will one day make a change. Hope is all we have, because they know the storm has blown over, and the odd Gayle isn’t going to make a difference.

I will give one of the anti-KP crowd one thing. He’s right. I don’t get to watch much cricket at the moment. That’s because I have a job, and these matches are played in job hours. I also have friends and colleagues, and I like socialising and talking many things with them. Given the attitudes of the press and our governing body, in reverse order of importance, I’m not exactly making buttons to see the highlights. You lot keep me up to date.

So to tomorrow. Will we be moping at the end of another campaign, with our bowling not good enough and our batting not great enough? Another tournament sacrificed on the altar of expediency? Or will we be back blowing smoke up their arses again! That “we” is our media, not me.

I’m so sorry I won’t give in. I’m so sorry that I offend some of them. I’m so sorry that this blogger isn’t being nice and happy with Corporate Team England. I’ll live.

Comments below…..

UPDATE – This doesn’t look good. It’s The 12th Man’s company doing the copyright protection:



84 thoughts on “T20 World Cup – England v South Africa

  1. Julie Mar 17, 2016 / 9:13 pm

    Thanks, Dmitri, you always write so sensibly and express everything far better than I but KP hasn’t blown over and won’t blow over while even one voice is heard.That will not only be me. There are others who haven’t given up.If we are silent they have won and I don’t like losing.So will keep niggling at ECB just hoping there is a conscience there somewhere.KP is doing a great job reminding them he hasn’t gone away.Love his commentary.So knowledgable and entertaining.KP FOREVERπŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†


    • Benny Mar 18, 2016 / 2:24 am

      The simplest reason that the KP thing won’t go away is that one of the great elements of cricket is the history. No-one’s going to airbrush any of it away – Botham’s Ashes and an allegedly broken hotel bed in WI, Close, brilliant England captain dropped for tactics in a county game that were disapproved, Gower’s naughty aeroplane flight, Yuvraj’s 36 off a Broad over, Gatting’s broken nose, Warne’s first ball in England, Trott’s illness. It’s all part of cricket’s rich pageantry.


    • Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 7:36 am

      Yes Julie!


  2. sgtcookieblog Mar 17, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Having just got in from toasting St Paddy that Saville quote has sobered me up pretty quickly.
    But not enough to tell you all how much I love this blog and all who contribute to it. Hic. πŸ™‚


  3. jomesy Mar 17, 2016 / 9:45 pm

    Like it: “The press are just caught between two stools.”

    Some stools (press/shit) caught between two stools.

    Nice piece, but good grief haven’t the stools (that’s the press/shit) done their job when people can make an analogy about KP with Saville.

    Sad and terrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Mar 17, 2016 / 9:47 pm

      I’m not going to go overboard on what someone thought was a clever line. But I thought I’d point it out given the sheer nonsense we cop when we veer off the socially acceptable path.


      • jomesy Mar 17, 2016 / 10:08 pm

        Fair enough. Don’t understand Twitter. But as a comparison/label, I’m struggling to work out what can be worse.


  4. escort Mar 17, 2016 / 10:17 pm

    I don’t tweet so can somebody please elaborate on the Pietersen- Saville comparison?


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 17, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      The individual in question doesn’t like KP – he’s not a major figure, although he tried to get a rise out of me today. But he doesn’t like KP being on Sky. Hence that tweet. I’m not copying it here, and would request others don’t either (so I’ve taken your comment down, nonoxcol).


      • alan Mar 18, 2016 / 8:25 am

        This person is obviously a ‘real England supporter’. References to ‘KP groupies, ‘unhinged’, don’t watch cricket’ etc etc ad nauseum
        No doubt still congratulating himself for his cleverness in coming up with the Saville analogy.
        Just imagine if someone had used it here about Strauss or Cook say. The outrage would have been something to behold. Dmitri pronounced guilty by association and of course that persistent monitor of this blog, Mr Grey Blazer, back on his moral high horse instead of having to content himself with snidey little tweets when a post doesn’t receive many comments!


  5. man in a barrel Mar 18, 2016 / 12:39 am

    KP’s column in the Telegraph was great. Basically England lack experience of big T20 events. Only Eoin has done the IPL. No one else has done T20 in India. Compared with the other nations, England is an outsider.

    How can you complain about that assessment? The WIndies knew that 180 was not a winning score at that ground, because they knew, because they had played there.

    The team played, Samuels kept momentum and then Gayle launched himself. This is how KP has been playing round the world.

    If only some fuck witted, unqualified cunt could bring himself to trust KP. Honestly, what are Strauss’s credentials? MBA? Degree? Pitman’s English?


    • Zephirine Mar 18, 2016 / 2:06 am

      Andrew Strauss has a degree in Economics. A discipline in which an awareness of the realities of human behaviour doesn’t always seem to be a requirement.

      Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Mar 18, 2016 / 9:33 am

      Nice to see him going crazy go nuts over the performance of the Victoria Bushrangers.


    • nonoxcol Mar 18, 2016 / 9:41 am

      Away with your agenda and your campaign of hate!


  6. SimonH Mar 18, 2016 / 9:48 am

    Australia against New Zealand – and the stadium is 80% empty.


    • SimonH Mar 18, 2016 / 11:14 am


    • Yossarian 1977 Mar 18, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      It’s school and college exams time for the kids in India.

      The parents and kids are at home, burning the midnight oil.

      I’m surprised the BCCI didn’t factor in that attendances would suffer.


  7. pktroll (@pktroll) Mar 18, 2016 / 11:36 am

    A Jill Blakeway quote has come on my timeline . I just wonder whether you could maybe think that the toxic person in this case it the ECB and/or press.

    “When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth, just like you did”.


  8. Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 11:37 am

    Watson out but NOT LBW!!!


  9. SimonH Mar 18, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Tournament’s not going well for the Big Three.

    How sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    England have won the toss and are having a bowl. See how the Saffers manage with the wet ball. No changes to the team (FFS).


    • SimonH Mar 18, 2016 / 3:39 pm

      FFS? I think you mean “resolutely”…..


  11. SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    Quote from Jarrod: ‘Australia, England and India are all winless, perhaps they needed that extra ICC money to stay competitive.’ How mean-spirited to kick the big 3 when they are down!


  12. SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    SA off to a flier. 50 up after 3.5 overs. Topley drops a sitter, de Kock on fire, 36 off 16.


  13. Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    Just saw Amla hit 4 4 4 6 4 dot off CJ


  14. AB Mar 18, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    I swear to god England wouldn’t get out of the group stages of the NWB.


    • Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      50 for de Lock off 21 balls.
      Team looks shell shocked.


  15. SimonH Mar 18, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Last PP by SA against England: 88-0.

    Today: 83-0.



    • SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 2:40 pm

      ABDV gone for 16. Rashid gets his man after going for consecutive sixes


  16. MM Mar 18, 2016 / 2:41 pm


    Let’s get Mooresy and his Satellite Pro back. Mooresy 3.0 for a laugh. At least then it was no hope. Strauss and his crew are false hope, which is the rubbishest of all bad hopes. Or summat.


  17. AB Mar 18, 2016 / 3:20 pm

    Just think, if only we’d brought a decent 3rd spinner instead of some lad who has taken 1 T20 wicket in his career but happened to get on the right side of Lord Flower.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 3:34 pm

      Very true.


  18. Clivejw Mar 18, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    South Africa 218/4 with three balls to go. And this represents an improvement by England, who at one stage looked like going for 260.


    • SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 3:31 pm

      Finished at 229-4. Some great batting but also some woeful bowling and ragged fielding. Chance for the much hyped exciting batting line up to show what it can do. It’s a good surface and the fielding side will have the dew to contend with.


      • Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 3:34 pm

        Fielding especially looks v poor.
        No spring in their step, from ball 1 everyone looked deflated.
        Is something wrong in the camp?


  19. d'Arthez Mar 18, 2016 / 3:29 pm

    Only 230 needed for victory …


    • Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 3:32 pm

      So rrr of just over 4.5 needed then?
      Should be possible with these fancy modern bats.

      Oh, in 20 overs???!?


  20. Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 3:40 pm

    Team looks clueless and shell shocked out there.

    If only we had someone who was a T20 expert who has loads of experience playing in T20s in India.

    Perhaps someone who had been man of the series in a WT20 that we had won.

    Perhaps we can begin a search for such a person…


  21. Andy Mar 18, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    Problem is, even if we crash and burn (when?), it will just be chalked off as a ‘learning experience’ and a ‘young team’.

    If they can squirm out of the disaster that was the ODI WC, even with the clear decks policy, then they can wriggle out of this mess.

    If only we had a proven t20 batter who knew the conditions and how to face such pressure. Well at least Buttler will be in the next IPL series


    • SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      21 off 1st over. Could be fun this.


  22. Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 3:51 pm

    Good start. 2 balls. 2 4s!
    Come on lads, play with no fear like you did before Morgan made his stupid comment!


    • SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 3:56 pm

      3 straight 4’s of Steyn’s 1st 3. Oh he’s just bowled a dot ball the spoilsport!


      • SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 3:58 pm

        Blood Hell 44-0 of 2 overs


  23. SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    Tahir could be a key man here (just as I type Nasser has said the same thing!)


  24. sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    Hales did not look out there.
    Still going great though!
    56-1 off 3!


  25. SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 4:35 pm

    The old ineptitude against spinners starting to show again. Morgan bowled by bloody Duminy FFS. That’s from me


  26. d'Arthez Mar 18, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    England making some decent runs, but Duminy takes out Morgan. 111/4; 119 needed from 62 balls, but with just 6 wickets left.

    The partnership for the fourth wicket was just 24 from 24 balls, and it seems England have a fair bit of momentum.

    Buttler and Root have a fair bit of work to do.


    • d'Arthez Mar 18, 2016 / 4:39 pm

      * had lost a fair bit of momentum


  27. Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    Very tame dismissal for Morgan. Didn’t try and force the pace at all.
    Root and Buttler in now so still hope…


  28. SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    finally started giving Duminy some tap. Steyn back in the attack.


  29. Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    Butter should not be out. Don’t you have to be in control of the ball to effect a stumping???


  30. d'Arthez Mar 18, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    Extras going to win the game for England, it seems. South Africa, not being helped by the dew have already conceded 19 wides. England conceded just 4 extras in the SA innings.


    • d'Arthez Mar 18, 2016 / 5:17 pm

      And why were the Super Sopper and the ropes not employed at the halfway stage of the innings? It happened in the West Indies – England game, presumably because dew was an issue …


  31. Sherwick Mar 18, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    Fantastically well done England! Root and Roy the stars that made it possible!


    • sidesplittin Mar 18, 2016 / 8:19 pm

      Couple of hours back you had them “clueless and shell shocked”, now they’ve done well.

      Beginning to think folks in this parish take rather more pleasure from Eng flunking despite the protestations of non interest in their fortunes πŸ€”πŸ€”


      • LordCanisLupus Mar 18, 2016 / 8:38 pm

        I think the vast majority of supporters of all kinds had them down as losing.

        May I refer you to this tweet, though….


        • sidesplittin Mar 18, 2016 / 8:44 pm

          Extremely prescient LCL – if u could advise the result of the Euro referendum too I’ll get my wagers on ! πŸ˜‰


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 18, 2016 / 8:52 pm

            I think we really do better when there are no options left. You had to go balls to the floor from the start, and they did. We bat deep. And yes, I guessed!

            I think we shouldn’t take Sri Lanka for granted given the amount of spin we are likely to receive.


      • jomesy Mar 18, 2016 / 8:53 pm

        It’s more complex than that and this is a very broad parish which is why I like it. Personally I quite like the t20 team (and I’ll readily admit it’s because Cook isn’t there) but they’re not as good as we’re constantly told they are/or could be – else they’d have beaten WI. Root made the difference today. Very well played him. I’m sad I can’t watch him bat with KP. Is my opinion that offensive? Probably because I think Cook is a stool. Who knows. Who cares. Broad church. Me likey.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. MM Mar 18, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I was wrong. We don’t need Mooresy 3.0 just yet.

    Very well batted England, and obvs Root in partic.

    But please, no more Jordan and no more Topley. Please. Continuity is great but…


  33. SteveT Mar 18, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    Done it!! Bit hairy at the End but it is England after all. Great run-chase, yep batting is definitely our strength. I put it down to Andrew C strauss


  34. "IronBalls" McGinty Mar 18, 2016 / 5:37 pm

    Bloody Hell!!!!!


  35. d'Arthez Mar 18, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Congrats England, even though it should have been far less close than it was at the end.

    Pathetic bowling by South Africa (Steyn just bowled 2-0-35-0) for most part. Unless there is a serious injury for Steyn, I am really not sure why Morris got a third over ahead of Steyn. South Africa selections and captaincy decisions making sense? It has not happened in the last 4 months, so why expect any different now?

    South Africa were admittedly not being helped by the dew (and the fact that the Super Sopper and ropes were not employed, unlike in the West Indies – England game; really not sure about the organisational logic behind that, to be honest).

    In the end, no one will fear these teams. The bowling is simply too poor to have anyone worried, unless the toss decides the game.


    • Rooto Mar 18, 2016 / 10:39 pm

      On commentary there was a mention of SA drying the ball after every delivery (from Pommie, I think). Guardian report (Vic Marks) says dew was much less of a factor, though.
      I don’t know who’s right.


  36. Clivejw Mar 18, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    Unbelievable run chase. I’m no Yorkshireman, but Root is a young god.


  37. Benny Mar 19, 2016 / 1:31 am

    That was great fun today. I reckon England’s batting is in a good place now. Not the finished article but well on the way. I’m worried and bemused that the same can’t be said of the bowling. Is it because England have put their focus on the batting side or because our bowlers spend all their time on poor county pitches?

    I’m looking forward to the next one.


  38. SimonH Mar 19, 2016 / 9:29 am

    Watching, I was reminded of this game:


    It isn’t a match many seem to remember because I seldom hear any reference to it. It was exciting at the time but didn’t turn out to mean too much in the longer course of things.

    Of course it could be argued this result has firmer foundations. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps it was because this result was in optimal conditions (set target. ball coming on nicely, opposition with only one good spinner). Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see. I’m inclined to think a strategy that requires record batting feats to win matches isn’t a recipe to win the string of results needed to win a tournament. We’ll see.

    It’s also too soon (and too far away) to say what effect conditions are having on these matches. In that last T20I WC teams batting second in the evening matches won 9 out of 11 games.

    England would be strong favourites in the two remaining Pool games in similar conditions. Turning conditions are another matter (not saying England will automatically lose if it turns – just the team is unproven). Those games are in Delhi. No matches have been played there yet – either in the tournament or in fact any T20I. The last two ODIs in Delhi weren’t particularly high-scoring. Anyone know the IPL average score on the ground?

    SA may well still get out of the group. Their bowling – and especially the lack of a good second spinner – makes them extremely unlikely winners though. Phangiso is the option in their squad but after a recent referral (and a couple of other controversies) it’s doubtful what state he’s in. Yesterday the three specialist spinners all went at under nine an over. The lowest ER for a seamer was ten (Willey). Steyn was most expensive of the lot and it was sad to see him looking what he is, an aging fast bowler lacking both fitness and match fitness.


    • Clivejw Mar 20, 2016 / 12:47 am

      Before I clicked the link, I thought it would be that game! Yes, I too thought of that game after England’s win the other night — a great win against the eventual winners of the tournament, but not a signifier of a long-time turnaround in England’s fortunes.


  39. Anteater Mar 19, 2016 / 9:36 am

    So, after England pull off the second biggest run chase in T20 history…. the lead story in the sport parts of last night’s news & this morning’s breakfast TV is …. ‘Former Olympic cyclist comes 5th in horse race’?? It does not say good things about the profile of T20 or cricket in general.


    • Benny Mar 19, 2016 / 1:37 pm

      Think it says a lot about the media. You just know that if Katie Price opened the batting for England women, the media would be all over it.


  40. SimonH Mar 19, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    Storms delayed start in Kolkota.

    The two Bangladesh bowlers who were referred have both had their actions found to be illegal and are out of the tournament. The loss of Taskin probably does for any chance Bangladesh had in the competition. Meanwhile, Andre Russell appears to have missed three drugs tests, appealed and, because there is no provisional suspension and the appeal won’t be heard until after the tournament, he can play.

    A shambles, at best.


    • SimonH Mar 19, 2016 / 4:52 pm

      Funny how TV has emphasised the 61k crowd at today’s game when there hasn’t been a single crowd figure given for any of the other games.


    • d'Arthez Mar 19, 2016 / 5:00 pm

      India in a tricky situation (23/3, after 4.4 overs), chasing 119 from 18 overs. A Pakistan win is certainly possible, and we might get a repeat of Eden Gardens 1996 …


      • Sherwick Mar 19, 2016 / 6:13 pm

        An excellent chase in the end by India and Kohli batted quite brilliantly under what must have been extreme pressure.


  41. SimonH Mar 20, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    Afghanistan needing 10.5 an over.

    10 overs: 103-2.

    Duminy off injured so no second spinner.


  42. Sherwick Mar 20, 2016 / 12:42 pm

    Afghanistan going to lose but put up a very good fight.
    Also shows how toothless these SA bowlers are. Geez they are terrible!


    • SimonH Mar 20, 2016 / 1:09 pm

      Afghanistan never recovered from overs 11 and 12 where they lost both set batsmen and only scored seven. It was perhaps always a few too many for them to chase and that 29 off an over from ABDV had probably decided it earlier.

      Saffers’ gameplan of four RFM bowlers looks woefully misconceived (although it was weird how Afghanistan clattered Abbott, Rabada and Wiese but couldn’t seem to work out Morris at all). Also, Morris’s batting is being wasted.

      A bit of turn in the pitch would also have made it much more interesting.


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