SAINT LUCIA: England cruised into the World Twenty20 final with a seven-wicket thrashing of Sri Lanka at the Beausejour Stadium on Thursday.
Set just 129 to win, after tight bowling restricted Sri Lanka - last year’s losing finalists - to 128 for six, England finished on 132 for three as they won with four overs to spare. Kevin Pietersen, on his return to the side after he attended the birth of his son in London, finished on 42 not out and ended the match in style with a six and a four in successive balls off fast bowler Lasith Malinga.
Stuart Broad, named manof- the-match for his two wickets for 21 runs, struck first ball just to get rid of Mahela Jayawardene just as Sidebottom had done before in removing another key Sri Lanka batsman in Sanath Jayasuriya.
Sangakkara rues loss
“In the last World Twenty we had one bad game. It’s a question of not getting too far ahead of yourself and sticking to your basics,” said Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara. Sri Lanka were particularly perplexed by the England seamers’ use of the slow, looping bouncers. “Everyone has those sorts of deliveries these days but it’s how you use them that counts and I thought England did that very well.”
Collingwood eyes first title
England have never won a major One-Day International trophy. Sunday’s match will be their first final since they lost in the 2004 Champions Trophy to the West Indies at the Oval and in Twenty20 in particular they have struggled to find a reliable opening partnership. But it seems it may be a case of 17th time lucky - the number of opening pairs they’ve used in Twenty20 - in Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb. “The two guys at the top of the order, Kieswetter and Lumb, are still going at the bowlers and have again got us into a good position.”
Collingwood also made it clear that he prefers to face Australia, England’s oldest cricket rivals, in the final. “Everyone would love to see an England versus Australia final but we have to give a lot of respect to Pakistan too, so we’ll wait and see who it is.” AFP
Veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya made just one on Thursday to complete a poor tournament for the lefthander, who finished the World Twenty20 with just 15 runs from six innings. But Sangakkara refused to say whether the 40-year-old, the oldest player at this event, had represented Sri Lanka for the last time.“Unfortunately he didn’t have a great run but to his credit he stuck with the team through a difficult period and the team stuck with him,” Sangakkara said.
“He showed a lot of support and we made sure he felt wanted, unfortunately he didn’t deliver but we still had more than enough quality to do better than we did today (Thursday).”
Published in the Express Tribune, May 15th, 2010.