Saturday, March 31, 2007

On this showing, England won't be in the semi-finals

England played Ireland last night in the Super 8's and although they did enough to win, they did not do enough to convince me, and I suspect others, that they will progress any further in the tournament.

To my eyes, it did not seem like an established international team taking on a minnow- for large swathes of the game, it seemed like a meeting of equals. Bangladesh will take a lot of heart from England's inability to rise to the occasion. England will no doubt say that they did enough to win, and that is true. But there was nothing in their performance to suggest that they'll give the slightest trouble to the 'big four' emerging- South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.

What was wrong was simply a lack of 'big-match' intensity in England's performance, except for Collingwood at the end of England's innings and Flintoff's at the end of Ireland's innings. It was an underwhelming performance by England and they'll have to work much harder if they are to challenge Sri Lanka next week.

Ireland on the other hand once again put in a performance that was greater then the sum of its parts, although Niall O'Brien's 63 was a great knock. There might be a few more Irish surprises in this World Cup yet.

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