Thursday saw two very different innings between England and the West Indies in Mumbai. With the controversial state of the pitch in Nagpur the previous day for the New Zealand-India match, the way this one turned out was the perfect response.
England constructed a very healthy 182-6 off their 20 overs, no big individual scores – but with nobody scoring at less than a run a ball it was a strong team effort. In my opinion, England have one of the best squads in the competition and should still be taken seriously despite defeat. However, when the opposition have a freak at the top of their order, the script tends to be torn up somewhat.
Striking his 17th T20 century in just 48 balls, including 11 mammoth 6’s, Chris Gayle has certainly arrived at the 2016 T20 World Cup. Joe Root opitomised the innings after the game, saying “When you come across Gayle in those conditions there’s not a lot you can do” (ECB, 2016). A very professional and humble comment, proving there’s a good head on his shoulders as well as immense talent, and understandably, when 86 of Gayle’s 100 runs came from boundaries he’s absolutely right – there isn’t much you can do!
I followed some of the discussion on Twitter post match, where lots of English fans were quick to blame the bowlers. What a load of b*llocks. T20 matches couldn’t be more set up against the bowlers! Fielding restrictions, strict leeway regarding wides, and the world’s best batsmen down the other end intending to hit every single ball back over your head. That’s not to say the bowlers don’t play a part. Death bowling is very much an art; watch some of Malinga, Steyn, or Gul’s highlights or look at their statistics – they win matches, but don’t blame them when they don’t!
So we look ahead to South Africa later today, same place (Mumbai), same time (14:00), and the same England. It’s very much as you were. Well played Chris Gayle.
Will Wood, Leeds Beckett University, Sport Marketing Student
ECB (2016) We are England cricket on Instagram: ‘Joe root full of respect for Chris Gayle’s outstanding innings today #WT20 #cricket #England #westindies’. [Online] Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BDB4V2Gokyq/?taken-by=englandcricket [Accessed: 17 March 2016].
ICC (2016) England v west Indies ICC world Twenty20 cricket highlights. [Online] Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhHNDsHwjbg [Accessed: 27 March 2016].