The Trumpet appreciates the loyal readership of 99.94 and apologises for his lack of contributions over the last few weeks. He has been doing some ball-by-ball commentary at the excellent Testmatchsofa.com, theatre reviewing at broadwayworld.com and has been wrapping up his affairs at work after nearly twenty years with the same employer. From next week, he will be wearing a sign around his neck saying, “Will dance for food” and writing rather more regularly at 99.94. Thanks to friends for their contributions below the line recently.
So England will face holders Pakistan in the final of the ICC World Twenty20… hang on, Michael Hussey has just barged me out of the way and is writing his own script.
So England will face old enemy Australia thanks to an innings of – though one hesitates to use the phrase about T20 – cricketing genius from a man who was written off as an international cricketer in his early twenties and then again before his career saving, Ashes losing, century at The Oval in August. Mohammad Aamer, in particular, deserved more, as did his benighted nation, but Mr Cricket said No. Englishmen understand how Pakistanis feel right now – we remember Bevan and Bichel in 2003.
Whilst Friday’s semi-final will always be Mike Hussey’s match, his pyrotechnics were only possible because Cameron White counter-attacked from Number Six and Mitchell Johnson hit a four from his first ball and got off strike with his other two. For two such infuriatingly naive bowlers, they make very canny batsmen. Batting, just shading fielding, is the Australian trump suit with Hussey, Warner and Watson all striking at a better rate than England’s best, Michael Lumb. England’s batting has relied heavily on the new father KP and the impish invention of Eoin Morgan. England will probably want to set a target and use scoreboard pressure to tame the Australians’ big guns, as Pakistan so nearly did – once going, Aus could bat England out of the match in the first ten overs.
The story is similar amongst the bowlers, with Nannes’, Tait’s and MJ’s power taking wickets and in Tait’s case, though I can scarcely believe it, keeping the runs down. England look to Bresnan’s and Broad’s fast-medium seamers supported by Michael Yardy (our David Hussey) and the slyness of Swanny. Put like that, England’s attack looks popgun.
On paper the, it’s a no contest, as Australia’s odds of 4/7 show. But England have had a bit of luck against Australia in recent times and have players in KP, Broad and Swanny who won’t be fazed by the testosterone wafting down from the green and gold clad muscle-boys. Can England win only the second global tournament in a major sport within my memory span? They can – but they probably won’t.