Dubai: The first semi-final between New Zealand and England provided an absolute twist to the tale in the final overs when Jimmy Nesham and Daryl Mitchell went on the rampage to give the Black Caps an improbable victory and a place in the final.
New Zealand were having their backs to the wall when they required to score 60 runs off 30 balls against an attack that was bowling at the right areas and making run-scoring a difficult task. Still the Black Caps managed to chase the runs with six balls to spare.
Here are the five takeaways from that semi-final clash:
No more slam bang
Twenty20 is no long a game where you come and hit. It’s more about accumulation of runs, mixing caution with aggression. Both Mitchell and Devon Conway added 82 runs for the third wicket after the loss of veterans like Martin Guptill and skipper Kane Williamson. That partnership kept the New Zealanders in the chase and formed the launchpad for Nesham to hit those big sixes and pull them back into the game.
Opening the key
In the shorter formats an opener or both openers should give a good start and also bat deep, and more important in the Twenty20 matches. It was the case with most of the matches in the Twenty20 World Cup. All four teams that have made it to the semi-finals were well served by the openers. Mitchell took his time and played the second fiddle until when Mitchell Santner arrived at the crease. Sensing trouble, Mitchell opened up in the final overs, but he held one end up and ensured a set batter stayed till the end.
Boult needs early success
Trent Boult is one of the top wicket-takers in the tournament and when the left-arm pacer did not find early success, he started trying something extra to get that elusive wicket and proved ineffective, bowling wides and lost his line and length. It clearly shows that to blunt Boult, don’t give the left-arm pacer the wicket. Boult finished with 0/40 off his 4 overs, too expensive for the left-arm pacer’s own standards, and that too the wicket had some assistance for the pacers early on.
England bowlers can’t handle pressure
The England bowlers proved that they can handle the pressure of a counter-attack. They proved their vulnerability when their best bowler Ben Stokes conceded 24 runs in four balls to lose the title in the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup. If it happened in one over the previous time, England conceded 57 runs in 18 deliveries. What is more intriguing is that during these three overs not single yorker-length ball, low full toss or wide outside the off stump. A look at the New Zealand bowling would give a fair idea that Ish Sodhi was consistently bowling on the fifth stump in the final overs, a smart way of keeping thing quiet. Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Chris Woakes all bowled plenty of deliveries on the hitting arc.
England’s injury woes
One has to give credit to England despite being weekend by the absence of stars like Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer from the beginning of the tournament and key members like Tymal Mills and Jason Roy during the tournament. If there was on player England missed the most against New Zealand in the semi-finals that must be the tall left-arm pacer Mills, who would have not let the Kiwi batters run riot. In all England are a real force in the shorter format, but skipper Eoin Morgan, after letting two big games slip through his fingers, should guide the bowlers better in the death overs.