Ball One – Samit Patel doesn’t look an athlete, but he can sprint, as a dash to field a push into the leg-side to save the two proved. Some blokes just always look a bit chunky – whether it affects their performance is moot and it seems that England are happy with Samit as he is.
Ball Two – Superb crowd in tonight, but at 25 quid and a pound for kids, it’s value, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Touts outside were offering to buy spares right up to ten minutes before the start. For once, top level sport is competitively priced in England, though Londoners do turn out for international cricket, as 17412 proved tonight.
Ball Three – This England side really are a professional outfit. September 23 and there’s no let-up in the intensity of their play after a summer (and winter) of unprecedented success. There’s no limit to where these squads can go, especially with the current dearth of outstanding teams around the world.
Ball Four – As ever in T20s, the field is exactly the same regardless of the target. The only way West Indies can win this match is by taking wickets, but there are no slips, no gully and no plan. Darren Sammy is hardly alone in such passivity – all captains seem to set the same fields whether defending 100 or 200.
Ball Five – It would be unfair to suggest that the West Indies have phoned in their performance, since they are outclassed even by this callow England XI. Missing so many stars (and so many non-stars) it would not be fair to draw too many conclusions from this mismatch beyond the irrefutable fact that England’s second string is better than West Indies’ third.
Ball Six – I was going to write that Alex Hales hits the ball hard, but who doesn’t these days? Even Alastair Cook has developed a weight of shot that would have impressed even ten years ago, never mind thirty. The best can apply that power through orthodox cricket shots – the very best apply it effortlessly.