NASSER HUSSAIN: England bowled too short and their batters found no rhythm in their humbling T20 World Cup defeat by Ireland… they have put themselves under HUGE pressure ahead of Friday’s crunch clash with Australia
- England slipped to a humiliating five-run defeat against Ireland on Wednesday
- Their bowlers bowled too short and lacked accuracy early on in the match
- Their batters then could not find any rhythm at the crease in the run chase
- England have now put huge pressure on themselves to beat Australia on Friday
Alarm bells should have been ringing for England during the interval on Wednesday when I interviewed Mark Wood because he felt there was a lot more in the pitch than they found.
Wood was very honest in his assessment and believed England were poor and did not have enough intensity. And for good measure I thought they bowled too short and didn’t adapt to the change of venue and opposition.
On a bouncy pitch with the dimensions of the Perth Stadium it was fair enough to bowl short at Afghanistan but they appeared to have the same plan for Ireland at the MCG when what was needed was for England to pitch the ball up a bit more.
Mark Wood took three wickets, but he knew England had bowled poorly in the early stages
Liam Livingstone was one of the only England bowlers to get his line and length right
A Test match length around the top of off-stump would have been ideal but not only did England bowl too short they also bowled both sides of the wicket and did not get either their lines or their lengths right.
England did drag it back well in the second half of the Ireland innings and I thought Liam Livingstone and Wood himself were excellent. But the way England batted on this pitch showed that 157 was a pretty decent Irish total.
Dawid Malan is usually good on these type of surfaces but he had no rhythm throughout on Wednesday and, when you look back at the Afghanistan match, you can say that not many England batters have timed the ball in either game.
Jos Buttler fell in the first over to get England’s innings off to the worst possible start
Dawid Malan top-scored for England but lacked fluency throughout his innings in Melbourne
Moeen Ali did well when he arrived at the crease but came in too late to turn the game around
I also felt Moeen Ali was a little low at six. He was just about to pounce and had seemed to have picked the perfect time to attack the spin of Gareth Delany, hitting him for six, two, four off the first three balls of the over before they went off for rain. Then he was denied the chance to get England ahead of the DLS par score.
But that call by the umpires was fair enough. I commentated on the game between South Africa and Zimbabwe in Hobart which was also decided by rain and the important thing is for the umpires to be fair to both sides.
The players had started to slip on Wednesday when the officials decided to come off and five minutes later it was absolutely pouring down so England can have no real complaints.
You have to give credit to Ireland. They played brilliantly and thoroughly deserved this victory. The one thing they will have to work on, though, is their catching because those two drops could have been extremely costly had there been five more minutes of play.
It wasn’t only in this game either. They dropped a few in qualifying for the Super 12s and on these big grounds that will cost them unless they sharpen up as they go on.
England could have no complaints that the umpires took the players off for heavy rain
But the way they bowled in those first 10 overs was the deciding factor and that leaves England vulnerable. I said before the tournament that you cannot afford any slip ups in such a short, sharp World Cup and it remains to be seen how costly this slip up will be.
A week is a long time in a T20 World Cup. After New Zealand thrashed Australia and England beat Afghanistan all the talk was of England having the chance to put Australia out of their own tournament back here on Friday.
That might still be the case but now defeat for England on what is likely to be a similar pitch in similar conditions will almost certainly eliminate them too. It’s a virtual knockout game and that is the nature of this tournament.
I still think England are a very good side. It’s just they have put themselves under pressure now and in front of a big Australian crowd on Friday they will have to deal with that. They have some Australians in their dressing room in coaches Mike Hussey and David Sakar. They need to help them assess conditions and get it right next time.
England now face a must-win clash with Australia at a sold-out MCG on Friday