T20 World Cup – England v Sri Lanka

Given the appalling weather forecast for tomorrow, it looks as though I’ll be going to be able to sit down and watch an England game in this tournament. For England the point could not be any clearer. Win and they are through. Lose and they are out (I’m not sure there is any mathematical calculation that keeps us in the competition). England’s performances in this tournament have been patchy. The batting was OK, but the bowling wretched against the West Indies. The bowling went beyond wretched against South Africa, albeit on a batting dreamscape, but the batting got them out of it. Then the converse applied against Afghanistan. So, we will either put it all together tomorrow, or all fall apart! Well, that’s what is due.

This isn’t a Sri Lanka to fear, without three of their key men in the 2014 triumph, and yet we know that underestimating them is not a thing we should be doing. It will be a trial by spin in all likelihood, although we shouldn’t be taking the seamers for granted either. However, they had a bit of a shocker against the West Indies, and there’s always the chance that will happen here. Also, although we can remember some scars over the 50 over format in ICC competitions with Sri Lanka, we were the only team to defeat them in the 2014 World Cup (thanks to Alex Hales once in a lifetime knock – I think!). Hales missed the last game, and may return for this one, but one wonders if the scars inflicted on England at Delhi by Afghanistan might carry over.

Elsewhere, I’d like to thank you all for your comments on the piece called “The Exiled”. This is a blog to talk about cricketing matters, so although I like Mark’s idea about commenting on other sports, I think that would dilute the content here to a degree. However, I’m not discounting that entirely. I do believe there needs to be something to focus on in the next few weeks, as the blog does go a lot quieter during England international breaks. I do like the idea of open threads as well – they work elsewhere. Maybe that will be in the mix. As always, would love ideas as to what to write about.

For example, I’m not going to be in the UK for the first and second tests against Sri Lanka, so I’d love someone to help Chris out in writing up pieces on them, whether you’ve seen the game or not. I know I have Blackwash to finish. I know that I owe Russell Degnan a response to his magnificent comment on Schleswig Holsteinshire. There is also the small matter of getting hold of Pringle’s article in The Cricket Paper (if anyone can get a copy to me, e-mail me on dmitriold@hotmail.co.uk) as I don’t usually find one on a Saturday. That’s the article on trolling, in case you are wondering.

One other point. I know I’ve been a critic of Stephen Brenkley, or Bunkers as he’s known on here. Mr Aplomb was one of those guilty men who drip fed us some crumbs of information but never really told us what went wrong on that Ashes tour. I will remember the salt in the tea analogy as a particular Bunkers piece. Today he took to Twitter to say that he’s written his last piece as The Independent’s Cricket Correspondent, and that’s sad. He also said he has two weeks more to go and he’d write for the I if they wanted him to. I’m not rejoicing. Brenkley’s loss to the media coverage of cricket should be a bloody beacon of woe for the game. I’m not sure who will be taking over at the I, but I’ll bet it won’t be a full time correspondent. Let’s see. It didn’t seem the departure of a retiring man, but one of a paper cutting costs. Maybe things will become clearer.

Finally, other than comments below, I’d like to wish you all a happy Easter weekend. Enjoy the break and hope all close to you do too.


39 thoughts on “T20 World Cup – England v Sri Lanka

  1. Sean B March 26, 2016 / 12:25 am

    I won’t get a chance to watch most of the SL tests due to work, but happy to try and put the odd piece together if it helps.

    Hope everyone has a relaxing Easter break.


  2. amit March 26, 2016 / 1:27 am

    With WI doing England a favour by beating South Africa, I think the qualification looks possible. If Eng lose, SA could still go on by beating Sri Lanka but I think the bookies might favour England in the next game. Hope it’s a good game because with a few odd results here and there, the spots are still open in both groups. India and Australia are in a knockout game next while Lanka / Eng / SA are all still in it. It has been quite competitive and with a bit of spice in them, pitches too have contributed to some low scoring but tight games.


  3. d'Arthez March 26, 2016 / 5:09 am

    The best predictor of who wins is simply who wins the toss. So if you don’t have much time, check the toss result, and you can be fairly confident that whoever won it, will go on to win the game. Unlike just about any ICC tournament held before (for instance in Bangladesh 2014, chances of a Full Member winning the game after losing the toss against another Full Member was about 55%; over here thus far it is about 7% – and that was Bangladesh – India; and no matter how you look at it Bangladesh threw away the win).

    No odd results whatsoever, with the exception of India beating Bangladesh. Even India’s loss to New Zealand was expected, both on the toss, and the fact that India batsmen are really not that great against spin.

    By contrast, in the “We really don’t want you there stage” of the tournament, 7 out of ten won tosses in games with a result led to losses (Hong Kong won 3 tosses, but lost all 3, while the toss was won twice against Bangladesh, and Bangladesh is really developing nicely in such conditions, but how many more opportunities to develop have they had, compared to say Ireland?).

    Not sure what that says about the pitches and the dew factor, but, it is hard to argue against the idea that thus far the toss has been way too important. Sure you can argue that teams are not that much stronger / weaker than others, but even if they had been all of equal strength, the toss should have trended towards being a 50/50 predictor of the outcome of the game.

    Also, chances of thumping wins happening either way should not be dependent on the toss.

    There have only been four thumping wins (more than 20 runs or 6 or more wickets remaining all tournament by teams who lost the toss. Three of those results occurred in the aforementioned “We really don’t want you here stage”, and the other one was Sri Lanka – Afghanistan. By contrast, there have been 8 thumping wins by the team winning the toss in the group stage of the competition already (and just 1 in the “Oh do we have to have ten teams in the main tournament stage?” part of the competition). And just 1 of those 8 wins was against Afghanistan (by South Africa).

    T development of Associate sides (and Zimbabwe due to the constraints cricket and other things that country faces) is much more uneven than for the other teams. Which is probably the reason why the tosses did not matter as much in that stage of the tournament; it is hard to perform consistently, when you don’t get that much time on the field against quality sides, never mind the fact that you still have a day job to worry about to pay the bills.

    But who cares anyway? How much money does the ICC make as a result of a glorified coin tossing operation?


    • SimonH March 26, 2016 / 8:31 am

      Much of the importance of the toss has to do with the importance of batting second in night time games. 7/10 night-time games have been won by the team batting second (India/Bangladesh was one exception as was NZ/India on a Nagpur bunsen).

      Add the 9/11 night games in the last T20I WC won by the team batting second and 16 of the last 21 matches in this competition have been so decided.

      (This is based on a quick check – I’ll do more detailed research on another occasion when I’ve more time).


  4. SimonH March 26, 2016 / 10:20 am

    LBW appeal (Shakib to Munro) hitting middle three-quarters of the way up. Not out.

    Umpire Cloete strikes again.


    • SimonH March 26, 2016 / 12:59 pm

      Cloete later gave Mortaza out LBW when the ball might have hit an extra leg-stump.

      Throw in a floodlight failure and a pitch that by the end was making Grant Elliott look like Chandrasekhar (the ball that bowled Mushfiqur turned the width of the stumps) and it’s all…..



    • nonoxcol March 26, 2016 / 4:59 pm

      Selvey and Henderson are now actually BILLED ON THE FRONT COVER ahead of actual cricketers!

      FFS, why is anyone here still reading that shit?


  5. Tuffers86 March 26, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    Lanka wins toss and will bowl. England have it all to do.


  6. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) March 26, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    98-3 as I write and I wonder what score England have in mind. Signs of the ball not coming on and keeping a little low. Could be an interesting one.


  7. fred March 26, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    Hi All
    I’ve been paying a bit of attention to this T20 tournament, the first time I’ve given this form of the game much attention. A few random obervations:

    It’s more subtle than I expected. There seems to be a lot of middling, dibbly dobbler bowling that produces great success. Wickets often come not so much from great bowling, but from awkward bowling. I guess it’s because the batsmen are under such pressure to hit every ball. It makes heros out of ordinary bowlers. Steyn is carrying the drinks.

    In an attempt to bowl yorkers, bowlers often deliver full tosses. But these apparent gifts to the batsmen often end up as catches on the boundary. Things are not as they seem.

    Maxwell is a disgrace to Australia, and to batting in general. Khawaja is making up for it however, and is, at last, continuing the beautiful tradition of Chappel, Waugh, Martyn and Clarke, and he’s doing it in T20. My new hero.

    NZ have their name written all over this contest, and will surely be holding the trophy. They’re slick.
    It’s like wolves amongst the sheep, except in this case the sheep are the wolves.

    I wish WI would bugger off. I know many people have a soft spot for them, because of their history. but for many years now they have mismanaged their administration, turned their back on test cricket, had key players focuss on global T20 events, gone on strike, abandoned tours, fixed matches taken drugs, and generally played with little committment. Then they turn up to a T20 event and get all excited and dance around like little girls when they take a wicket. Not convinced; you guys are dilettantes. And Gayle is one of the vulgar and ugliest people to have graced international cricket in recent memory (against some pretty stiff competition). I felt for Jason Holder, for his leadership of the mess he inherited, but that’s as far as my sympathy goes. Lets hope the full/associate demarcation is dropped and someone like Ireland or Afghanistan who really cares can take their place.

    Watching different live feeds, Indian ads seem to be varied and witty, while English ads are mindless repetition of Joe Root and a silly dog that are making me come to hate Root. Sky should stop treating people like children.

    The Indian victory over Bangladesh was the clearest demonstration of experience that you could ask for. Bangladesh absolutely had that in tha bag, and India won it purely because they didn’t panic, and Bangladesh did. Dhoni won that match. Give Afghanistan more games and just watch what happens.

    Australia has demonstrated once again that it has one plan: hit the ball as hard and as far as you can. Undeniable when it comes off, embarrassing when it doesn’t. Smith, ugly as his technique can be at times, added a bit of subtlety to that yesterday, which helps the team. Why isn’t Lyon in the squad? he’s Australia’s best spinner, is he injured?

    It’s nice there doesn’t seem to be any DRS, unless the umpire asks for a review. Just shut up and get on with it, like it used to be.

    Running a live count of the number of sixes hit during the tournament is one of the most pointless statistics I’ve seen.

    Nassar Hussein has been spending too much time with Michael Slater. Either that or he’s found a new drug supplier in India.

    In conclusion, I guess it’s good if it helps grow the game, and it’s nice to see lots of competition between all the teams in the same space, but the cricket is a real mix of extraordinary with very ordinary.
    I’ll enjoy it while it’s on, but what I’m really waiting for is whether Australia can defend its Test position over the next two years, whether SA will recover from their stumble, what England will do next, and if NZ can build o the base they have.

    Liked by 5 people

    • sidesplittin March 26, 2016 / 6:21 pm

      Epic comment. First time I’ve read someone calling the WI out and, tbf, you have a point there. Nasser’s gone a bit native of late, he used to be quite spiky but now specialises in drivel.


  8. pktroll (@pktroll) March 26, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    Sneaked through in the end. I was reasonably confident when England posted the score that they did but always felt there was a twist or turn – and how. The absolute battering the spinners took meant that for the last 5 or so overs, Sri Lanka were the favourites but kudos to Jordan, Stokes and Plunkett. They all bowled pretty well and too Jordan in particular was excellent and was unlucky in my opinion not to take the man of the match ahead of Buttler.


  9. "IronBalls" McGinty March 26, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    Well, that was knicker gripping! Enjoyed listening to it!


  10. Escort March 26, 2016 / 8:52 pm

    A good game wasn’t it? A fantastic over by Stokes at the end.👌


  11. Tregaskis March 26, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    If anyone looks at my Twitter feed tonight and the exchange about MSM apparently all thinking the appointment of Peter Moores was rubbish and misguided, I’d be grateful for links to any press articles praising the appointment at the time. I need to reply to John Etheridge and I know you guys have a better archival memory than me. Dmitri has my email details. All help would be appreciated and I recognise that Nonoxcol and SimonH are particularly good at this sort of thing. It could be that I have just got it wrong and the MSM were all saying what a ridiculous appointment Peter Moores was! Not my recollection, I have to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus March 26, 2016 / 9:57 pm

      John Etheridge absolutely thought it a ridiculous appointment at the time. Can’t find the reference, but he thought it a mistake.

      Not many others made their fears known. Selvey, of course, was all in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark March 26, 2016 / 10:43 pm

        Which is why Dmitri the media hate your blog acting as a fact checking tool against them. No wonder they tell you to stop writing about journalists. How convenient for them? Their fan boys BTL are too stupid to remember their heroes previous output.

        By the way, I hate the way Strauss is being given all the praise. He has done nothing. The 20/20 team had already started to change its tactics when India were here in 2014 while Strauss was still dreaming about being a Tory MP. England have lucked out on a batting line up of flair players all around at the same time. It happens like that sometimes. Just like the much vaunted class of 92 in football. It was never repeated under Ferguson. Sometimes fate happens.

        Has Nasser always written for the cricketer magazine? Or has he now been accepted into the funny handshake brigade?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Escort March 27, 2016 / 12:25 am

        That’s correct Dimitri. From memory I think he was sure it was a background step, didn’t he say it was something like the FA going back to Graham Taylor?????


  12. Topshelf March 26, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    Etheridge definitely against.


    Pringle broadly pro – “minor quibbles”, but may have got something right in his praise for Farbrace as assistant.


    Bunkers had a bob each way, but “impressive Paul Downton” and “Cook’s team” stick out the most.


    I’m a little surprised the sainted George Dobell was pro, but the fact he focusses on Moore’s decency as a man is no surprise. It probably is a shame that he just didn’t seem to have the skills for international cricket.

    Searched for a Michael Henderson opinion, but the crap I found made it too depressing to dig deeper.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus March 26, 2016 / 10:40 pm

      In something slightly related, have I got a Henderson article from the archives for you lot…soon.


  13. d'Arthez March 27, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    So, England overcame losing the toss. For the second time in the tournament, a Full Member losing the toss beat another Full Member. Pity the two weakest Full Members (barring Zim, which is probably worse than a few Associates these days), were the winners of the toss.

    I fully expect the knockouts to not be so kind to the toss-losing teams.


  14. SimonH March 27, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    That was amazing from Virat Kohli.

    39 needed off the last three overs. Took Faulkner for 19 then Coulter-Nile for 16 and won with five balls to spare.


    • LordCanisLupus March 27, 2016 / 5:41 pm

      It was a thoroughly wonderful piece of batting. It was accompanied by the most amazing hyperbole overload on Twitter.

      I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but keep thinking, in light of writing about Viv in 1986, what Masterblaster would have done with these bats, these wickets and these outfields. And god help you if there were short boundaries.


      • SimonH March 27, 2016 / 6:49 pm

        I’ve avoided Twitter!

        To be fair, nobody else had been able to time the ball on that wicket after the Khawaja/Finch partnership at the start of the game and Mohali has 80m+ boundaries. Not a great Australian attack without Starc and Cummins perhaps – but still the most fantastic innings given the pressure and the lack of support.


    • mdpayne87 March 28, 2016 / 3:11 am

      Just seen a stat that Kohli averages 91 in T20 internationals when chasing. Pretty incredible.


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