England progress to the quarter-finals following South Africa’s win over Bangladesh. What? It just makes no sense – but it’s been great viewing. TWC‘s newest recruit David Currie is still trying to work out what to think…
Trying to dissect another England nail-biter isn’t easy.
Just 19 more West Indian runs might have prompted a rant, an angry dissection of where England embarrassingly failed to get through the group stage.
What injustice would’ve been felt? And why are we not feeling it now?
A matter of minutes before England took the wicket of Andre Russell that sparked West Indies’ collapse, Michael Vaughan on TMS said: “I know they’re tired but this is a huge underachievement from this set of England players.”
And a matter of minutes after the win Nasser Hussain reserved high praise for Strauss’ captaincy, England’s mental strength in tight finishes and the inspired inclusion of Tredwell.
Is Vaughan simply a victim of the commentator’s curse and Nasser a profiteer of hindsight?
Our magazine (on sale from Friday just gone) profits from such good fortune, with a great picture of Andrew Strauss (the third highest run-scorer in the tournament so far). We’d all like to benefit from a bit of foresight.
But should we paper over the crack now that we’re likely to progress? England still have obvious problems in the side to address. Or are we being too harsh on a side that is likely to enter the quarter-final stage unbeaten against the sides that join them? (India, South Africa and West Indies).
At this World Cup, England are making it hard to meet with triumph and disaster, treating those two impostors just the same. They’ve twice lost when they should have won and twice won/tied when they should have lost.
It’s hard to see Shafiul Islam (with only three previous scores in double figures) breeze to 24 not out in defeat to Bangladesh without thinking disaster. As much as it’s hard to see Strauss’ jubilation at the final wicket falling on Thursday and not feel we’re going to win the whole thing.
And who knows? We just might; it’s been that bizarre a tournament.
David Currie has recently been appointed as publishing assistant at The Wisden Cricketer