With England winning the first T20 at a canter, it seems like the hugely disappointing performance in the Champions Trophy is already being swept under the carpet. The first T20 was a strange affair as South Africa were truly abject with both bat and ball. The fact that they could only muster 142/3 on that pitch was truly shocking, I for one, have never seen AB de Villiers so out of nick, this coupled with another average performance from the perennially average Behardien, made the English bowling attack look like the West Indian attack of the 80’s! As for their bowling, I think the phrase pop gun would be too kind, they were far worse than that. A truly terrible day at the office for the Proteas and one they’ll need to get out of their system quickly.
This is not meant to take any credit away from England who batted and bowled both professionally and ruthlessly, something England haven’t been exactly renowned for in the near past. Whilst Woods will get most of the acclaim with the ball, it was the two inexperienced spinners that should get the most credit in my opinion as both Crane and Dawson bowled like they were seasoned internationals, not two bowlers who have less than 10 ODI caps between them. As for the batting, Roy got us off to a good start before giving his wicket away and then Bairstow carried England to an easy victory with another brilliant innings. You have to give YJB a lot of credit as whenever he’s picked for a white ball game, he nearly always sticks his hand up with a decent score. It must be incredibly frustrating being the ‘nearly’ man of England’s white ball team and many would’ve displayed a less than positive attitude, but it’s a great credit to Bairstow that he has continued to be upbeat and back his own ability. In my opinion, England simply need to find a way to fit him into the white ball setup permanently.
So we roll on to Taunton, which is hosting its first international game and for a measly £60 you could go and watch it, that is if you’re slightly insane with money to burn. It should be a high scoring game as Taunton is generally a bowlers graveyard and it will be interesting to see what changes both sides make. I still think it would be criminal if Curran, Malan and Livingstone aren’t handed any game time in what is essentially a meaningless series, so it will be interesting to see if and how they slot them in.
In other news, Ireland and Afghanistan have been made full members, which is great news until you realise that they are being funded as Associates who have just lost £40million as part of the settlement to appease the BCCI. You have to give it to the ICC, they are the masters of giving and taking away at the same moment. Then we have the ECB trying it’s best to rinse the media quickly so as to pay off the counties and to swell their own coffers – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2017/06/22/ecb-expect-1bn-bt-sport-sky-prepare-tv-rights-bidding-war/. Stuff the cricket, this is the ECB’s number one priority. We’ll try to cover these in a little more depth when we have the time.
Anyway thoughts on the match and other news below: