England lost a close game to Sri Lanka, South Africa did all that was needed against Ireland, New Zealand crushed Bangladesh, and the Aussies kept winning. The semi finalists of this years World Cup are becoming clearer with each passing match, all that is left, it seems, is what order they’ll finish in and thus who will play whom. As the matches go by in this drawn out tournament it has become clear who the top teams are, who’s making up the numbers, and who’s just there to take part. For all the hype of the CB Series win in January, England has once again flattered to deceive. In that series they beat both the Australians and New Zealand, which more then likely won’t happen again. In fact they have already been well and truly beaten by New Zealand in the group phase, and meet the Australians on Sunday, in a match that the rest of the world will be hoping that they can repeat their CB Series Final victory, but in all likelihood, wont. England are a side missing a couple of players that would enable them to compete at the level they think they can. Upfront they haven’t had an opening partnership of note as Vaughn continues to struggle, he seems to be picked as captain only, Joyce is being exposed at this level, Bell is getting starts but not pushing on, and Flintoff is struggling to score runs. They leave to much for Pietersen to do alone, and if he fails their scores are modest. In the match against Australia it was left to Bopara and Nixon to attempt to win them the match, something they almost did, but feats like that will be rare. When you continue to lose wickets in groups, especially after they hard work of a good partnership has just been undone, you are going to lose more games then you’ll win. On the bowling front, Jimmy Anderson tends to shrike early, giving England a good start, but it’s the middle overs that are proving a problem. They almost tend to go through the motions and wait for the batsmen to make a mistake or start hitting out creates chances, rather then trying to get the batsmen out. It seems a good captain like Vaughn is almost wasted in this situation. Flintoff bowls well at times, as does Panisar, but all too rarely are they having the desired effect. The batting is brittle and dependent on one person, and the bowling is ineffective. England haven’t a hope of winning the World Cup and will have to be satisfied with making it this far – something Pakistan and India both failed to do.
Pack up England