Saturday 27 May 2017

Cricket: Morgan helps England's motley crew to T20 glory

Stephen Brenkley in barbados

THREE South Africans, one Englishman and an Irishman saw England past Australia at the Kensington Oval as they swept the old enemy aside to become Twenty20 champions of the world.

They had 18 balls still at their disposal when captain Paul Collingwood smote the winning run through mid-on. By any standards it was a hammering.

It was also, in many ways, a complete exhibition of the arts of the short form of the game, many of which England had already displayed in the previous two weeks.

Since inventing Twenty20 in 2003, England have been left floundering by countries who did it better. This past fortnight, in the third World Twenty20, they have made up for lost time and in defeating Australia -- after romping through the Super Eights and the semi-final -- they deserved this triumph.

In 34 years of trying, spanning 19 competitions, including four previous finals, this was the first time England had won a global tournament.

After opting to field, England made themselves clear favourites by restricting the opposition to 147-6, with Ryan Sidebottom taking two wickets and Graeme Swann at his stifling best.

And after the early loss of Michael Lumb, the South African-born second-wicket pair of Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen shared an increasingly audacious partnership of 111 from 68 balls.

Kieswetter hit 63 from 49 balls with three sixes and seven fours and Pietersen, back to his glorious best, 47 from 31, perishing in trying to strike his second six.

Maybe, maybe, the Aussies could pull another one out of the hat after Kieswetter, backing away to leg, was soon bowled by Mitchell Johnson.

But Collingwood decided that enough was enough. He finished the match in the 17th over with a hooked six, a pulled four and another boundary swiped through wide midwicket.

Dubliner Eoin Morgan, such a star of the team throughout the tournament, was not out at the other end on 15 from 13 balls, his maturity shining through again. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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