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‘What took so long?’ – When England finally won their first men’s white-ball world title

by Tony Cozier 3 minute read

England won their first men’s world title in 2010 in the T20 World Cup. Read Tony Cozier’s report from the final, originally published in the 2011 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

At Bridgetown, Barbados, May 16, 2010. England won by seven wickets. Toss: England.

England ended their 35-year wait for a global trophy in such commanding style that their supporters were entitled to ask “What took you so long?” Here they seized control right from the start and never relented. Their new-ball bowlers kept Australia down to 24 for three in the powerplay – easily their lowest of the tournament – and made judicious use of the quicker and slower bouncer. Then Swann, using the prevailing breeze, bowled a brilliant four-over spell which cost just 17 and ensured a chaseable target which England knocked off with panache.

Collingwood chose to bowl first, and had to wait only three balls for a wicket. Kieswetter had been caught off a no-ball and dropped several times in the tournament, and saw his good fortune continue with the gloves after Sidebottom lured Watson into playing outside off stump: Kieswetter failed to hold the fast-travelling nick, but the ball fell perfectly to Swann at first slip. Clarke was unable to gain momentum – his 27, his highest of the tournament, took as many balls – and he called Warner for a homicidal single: the vast improvement in England’s fielding under Richard Halsall’s coaching was embodied in Lumb’s direct hit from cover to dismiss Warner. Haddin was given out caught down the leg side off Sidebottom and, although it was a dubious decision, Haddin did himself no favours with visible dissent (he was later fined). After 13 balls, Australia were eight for three. David Hussey and White mauled Yardy, taking 21 off his third over but Wright dismissed White in his only over of the tournament, allowing Collingwood to bask in an inspired bowling change.

The early loss of Lumb twanged English nerves, but Kieswetter and Pietersen put on 111, one short of England’s all-wicket Twenty20 record. After some playing and missing at short balls, not even a problem with the sightscreen behind Nannes, which halted play, could disturb Kieswetter. The ball before the hold-up he flicked for four, and he coverdrove the next for four more. His fifty completed, there were shades of Ricky Ponting in the 2003 World Cup final in the way he struck a one-handed six over square leg off Nannes. Pietersen, meanwhile, was imperious, driving Tait over long-off for six.

Eventually both departed in quick succession, but that paved the way for Collingwood to collect the winning runs off Watson, who was battered so much in his three overs that he might have been an English pie-chucker. Thousands of surprised and delighted England fans acclaimed Collingwood as he became their first male captain to raise a world cup, at the 18th attempt.

Man of the Match: C. Kieswetter. Man of the Tournament: K. P. Pietersen

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