New Delhi : English cricket’s makeover has conveyed a spot in the World Twenty20 final in Kolkata on Sunday. New Zealand’s first annihilation of the tournament, by seven wickets with 17 balls to spare, finished their involvement. Rather, it is England, a gutsy England freed of old stuff, who lie in sit tight for the victors of Thursday’s semi-final between India and West Indies in Mumbai.
Jason Roy electrified England’s reply to New Zealand’s far-from-imposing 153 for 8, his 78 from 44 balls ended by Ish Sodhi’s dragged-down legbreak that beat his advance down the pitch and crashed into the timber. “I’ve got to realise I’m not a robot,” Roy said earlier in the tournament. He is precisely the opposite. At his best, he is humanity at its most tempestuous – a mini adrenalin rush – and his first T20I half-century, perfectly timed at the 13th attempt, was the second fastest in England T20 history as he racked it up in 26 balls.
There was wildness about the four boundaries he took from the first over from Corey Anderson, but he middled the ball with increasing certainty, tattooed forearms whirring. A sumptuous straight drive against Mitchell McClenaghan possessed particular poise. After such a scintillating start, he could have reined himself in against Mitchell Santner’s left-arm slows, such has been Santner’s effectiveness throughout the tournament, but instead despatched him with successive straight drive and sweep.
This was England’s third appearance at Delhi – New Zealand, by contrast, had toured the country and were playing at their fifth different venue – and, much to their liking, the Kotla pitch became quicker with each appearance. New Zealand brought in in an extra pace bowler, Adam Milne instead of Nathan McCullum, but England prospered.