England made history at the Kensington Oval. Paul Collingwood and his men became the first English side to triumph in an ICC global event.
Making light of pre-match predictions, England was a runaway winner by seven wickets. As many as 18 deliveries remained in the contest when the side romped home in the third edition of ICC World Twenty20.
Chasing 148 after its bowlers had done a magnificent job, England was rarely stretched as it dismantled the Aussie bowling.
Opener Craig Kieswetter charged the bowlers with lovely footwork and struck the ball with power and conviction. His 49-ball 63 was a hugely influential effort after the early dismissal of his partner Michael Lumb.
Kevin Pietersen walked in at No. 3 and soon imposed himself on the contest. Pietersen’s presence seemed to inspire Kieswetter at the other end. England was up and running in a Cup final.
Pietersen, 47 off 31 balls, delighted. His slick footwork was followed by strokes of rare authority. The gifted right-hander makes his runs in a hurry; he is also elegant.
Keven Pietersen starred with a 47 off 31 balls in the final to take the game away from the Aussies. – Getty Images
His front-footed six over long-off of paceman Shaun Tait was a jaw-dropping stroke. He met the Aussie fire with aggression. Shaun Tait & Co. were pegged back. From a psychological perspective, this was the decisive phase of the contest.
“He (Pietersen) is a match-winner. He is one of the guys who can take the game away from us,” admitted Aussie skipper Michael Clarke.
The faster the hostile trio of Dirk Nannes, Tait and Mitchell Johnson bowled on a lively pitch at the Kensington Oval, the quicker the ball disappeared off the willows of Pietersen and Kieswetter.
The English duo was fearless. The two coped with the short-pitched fliers well and when the Aussie pacemen were forced to bowl a fuller length, they were pounded by Kieswetter and Pietersen.
Kieswetter was adjudged Man of the Final and Pietersen, Player of the Series. Both deserved the honour.
England’s star performer in the tournament Ryan Sidebottom poses with the match ball which was signed by his teammates. – Getty Images
“Both batted brilliantly. They were in control,” said Collingwood. Pietersen and Kieswetter fell close to the finishing line but Collingwood and Eoin Morgan closed out the contest for England.
This was a match where Australia seemed a touch flat. Perhaps, the mentally draining win over Pakistan in the semifinal had taken too much out of the team.
England made all the right moves. Collingwood elected to field; the move reflected the skipper’s confidence in his pacemen. Collingwood would also have been conscious of the depth in the Aussie line-up and the side’s believe-it-or-not pursuit against Pakistan.
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The English pacemen impressed. Ryan Sidebottom prised out the in-form Shane Watson with a lifting short pitched delivery that angled away from the Aussie. Watson, slashed, edged and was soon walking back.
Sidebottom has bowled with verve in the competition. He has moved the ball both ways from over-the-wicket and surprised the batsmen with bounce. He has also varied his pace and length intelligently.
To Micheal Clarke and Australia, the World Twenty20 title remained elusive. – Getty Images
Before long Australia was eight for three. Its powerful top-order had come unstuck against some pressure-creating bowling from England.
Skipper Clarke battled but he was done in by off-spinner Graeme Swann’s flight and dip. Swann bowled beautifully, varying his trajectory and harnessing the angles.
David Hussey applied himself in an adverse situation to come up with a 54-ball 59. And Cameron White powered his way to a 19-ball 30. He was severe on left-arm spinner Michael Yardy.
Australia recovered but England still had the match in its grasp. As Clarke admitted, Australia was around 30 runs short.
It was a heady victory for England. The side had delivered as a unit. There were some brilliant individual performances but England pulled together as a strong and resilient team.
Collingwood and his men celebrated the rare triumph before jubilant English supporters. The scenes of joy in the English camp reflected the value of the conquest in the Caribbean.