What a thrilling encounter that was for English cricket, as England defeated New Zealand in Delhi to book their place in Sunday’s World T20 final, with their opponents to be decided today as India take on West Indies in the other semi-final.
Martin Guptill got the Kiwi’s off to a brilliant start but Moeen Ali’s (1-10) two tight overs seem to knock them off their stride, together with England’s admirable athleticism in the field.
With many wondering whether England would “bottle it”, the boys proved that they had the belly for Delhi, with Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes superb with the ball – a fine exhibition of pace, slower balls and yorkers.
BIG BEN’S TIME TO CHIME
On Twitter, we called for Stokes to put in a match-winning performance. Whilst the all-action all-rounder is a key player for England in all formats, his personal stats going into the game were far from flattering.
In 15 T20Is, he had contributed just 129 runs at an average of 14.33, and five wickets at an average of 61.62.
Stokesy must have seen our hashtag, #BigBensTimeToChime, because four superb overs yielded 3-26 at an economy rate of 6.5, which was bettered by Chris Jordan’s (1-24) rate of 6.0.
Ben Stokes uses New Balance cricket shoes – shop now.
With the bat, Jason Roy deserves all the plaudits, with 88 from just 44 deliveries, which encompassed fierce hits, swashbuckling flicks and traditional, “through the V” strokes. It was exhibition stuff by the Surrey opener.
View Roy’s stunning Slazenger V800 Cricket Bat.
In-form duo Joe Root and Jos Buttler saw England home in stylish yet destructive fashion, but skipper Eoin Morgan succumbed to yet another golden duck.
View Jos Buttler’s stunning Kookaburra Verve Cricket Bat range today.
During the semi-final, we ran a series of Twitter polls.
First of all, we mischievously asked who you would rather have in your T20 side – Joe Root or Kane Williamson.
A whopping 88% of voters would take England’s number three over the New Zealand captain (12%), even though Williamson (7th) is currently ranked four places higher than Root (11th) in the ICC T20 batting rankings.
We then posed the very same question, with Alex Hales and Martin Guptill going head-to-head, which again yielded definitive results.
76% would take Guptill ahead of Hales, even though there is only two places between them in the rankings, with them placed third and fifth respectively.
At the start of the New Zealand innings, we asked how many wickets the community thought England’s spinners would take.
58% voted the correct answer of 1-2, with Ali taking England’s sole wicket from spin.
As New Zealand entered the half-way point of their innings, we asked our followers to predict how many they thought the Black Caps would post.
The vast majority (54%) who voted 151-180 runs were proved right – just – as New Zealand were bowled out for 153.
At the mid-match interval, 84% of the community were confident that England’s lengthy batting line-up would be enough to chase down New Zealand’s total.
And then came our final and all-important question: after witnessing that brilliant England performance, how confident are you that they will now lift the World T20 trophy on Sunday?
Perhaps some England fans had yet to ascend from cloud nine, but 62% thought that they would leave the tournament as Champions, with 17% backing an alternative participant to triumph and 21% voting for ‘depends on the oppo’, which will be decided today.
FOLLOW TO WIN
We also ran a series of Twitter prize draws, including giving away a pair of T20 flashing bails if someone in England’s top three scored a fifty.
Thanks to Roy’s heroics, we’re sending winner Adam Harper a set in the post – many congratulations. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to say in-the-loop with future competitions and prize draws.
We’ll also be tweeting during the ICC World T20 final on Sunday – we can’t wait. See you in the Twittersphere.