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England suffers Tremors, not so New Zealand!
by Sreelata Yellamrazu
Apr 06, 2007
England’s road in this World Cup has been as rocky as perhaps the paddle boat that the world found a far from sober Andrew Flintoff in! But if there is one bunch of people who seem least affected, it has to be the nation of New Zealand whose team seems well placed to take their rightful place in the semi finals.

As if the West Indian bashing by Australia was not enough, the hosts would be struck by more woe as another team on the rise showed that talent was running like milk and honey. It is becoming harder for cricket experts to pick between Scott Styris and Jacob Oram. Yet it seemed unlikely that men like these would shine where Nathan Astle and Chris Cairns once stood. The beauty of the game is that there is little lost by way of history or heritage even when the personnel have long since hung their worn out boots.

West Indies was given a poignant lesson in a true team effort ability that had them hopping in a vain search for points in the Super 8’s. If Scott Styris is scripting his way to runs in heaps, Oram has discovered that he may as well clipped his injured little finger to make it to this prestigious event. Only cricket fans are glad he did not have to resort to it after all as he picked up three decisive wickets and derailed the hopes of the fervent partisan spectators. Styris’ runs the top order have eased troubles where New Zealand is battling to maintain a fit eleven. Not a few worthy men including the likes of Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey have had to bid the World Cup in tears.

Further still, New Zealand encountered greater trouble as Michael Mason suffered a calf muscle injury and James Franklin battled a migraine. It was left to the otherwise breakaway man, Shane Bond, who when not battling injury, had torn the opposition to shreds. Bangladesh would taste that as well as they succumbed trying to play a virtual Twenty 20 match and could only managed 172 on board.

Stephen Fleming is not bidding this World Cup good bye without a hurrah. His sublime century really put no one in doubt about where New Zealand stood as a team in this competition. Certainly teams that bump into Fleming’s New Zealand will come away with a few bruises as the team seems set for the long haul.

Alas, the same though cannot be said of England. Unsure of what it is they seem to be battling, England has simply failed to ignite or inspire the tournament. Was it a case of peaking too early as was revealed in the Commonwealth Bank series in Australia? While Australia is going about successfully making those nightmares fade into the distance, England is beginning to look like a one race horse.

Playing Ireland first up in the Super 8’s should have been as easy easing into the second round. But England faced a mountain of trouble while batting first. It took Kevin Pieterson’s resilience, a dependence that is sometimes becoming too lop sided for England. With five down for just about hundred runs on board, England required the resources of the man on the move in the series against Australia, Paul Collingwood. Pieterson came to the rescue with Ian Bell in tow. After that it was the breezy innings of ninety by Collingwood that really ensured that England would not hiccup thereafter.

But badly stumbling in a lowly game did not exactly set England rousing in the game against Sri Lanka. But if succor was needed was needed, it was in the fact that Sri Lanka was looking for its first points from the Super 8’s as well. England though did not carry any in their pockets from the group stage. Hurting from what was now a narrow loss to South Africa in a knife edge of a match, Sri Lanka was looking to dig its claws. All danger signs went up and people wondered if England had a suit of armour to put on that near pale effort against Ireland.

England could not have asked for a more heartbreaking result. It may have seemed unfortunate to have lost the game against Sri Lanka. But in reality their top order failed miserably and at 133 for six, getting as close to victory was already a stuff of dreams. Sri Lanka, for their part, played an uncharacteristically subdued innings as well. But it was their bowling that kept asking questions of the England batsmen. The match only came to life really when relative newcomer Ravinder Bopara and Paul Nixon combined to forge an eighty-seven run inspiring partnership.

It was in the last stage that the duo faltered to give Sri Lanka some reason to finally express relief after two close encounters, and this one not going the way of the opposition like the one against South Africa. The margin though is becoming stark between New Zealand and England who not a few days ago shared the same group in the league stages. Now it appears they are leagues apart!

 
More Views by Sreelata Yellamrazu
  One way ticket to history!
  Double date. (But only two showed up!)
  Not the best way to go!!!
  England shown the door by Hall
  South Africa scripting a dangerous tale
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