From startled rabbits, England roar like lions
LONDON – England’s transformation from “startled rabbits” at this year’s World Cup to record-breakers against New Zealand on Tuesday has left fans and pundits shaking their heads in disbelief.
The 408 for nine a rampant England amassed in 50 overs at Birmingham was their highest ODI total and set up their biggest ever margin of victory in the 50-over format, a 210-run rout.
Captain Eoin Morgan, who suffered a miserable time at the World Cup where England were eliminated in the group phase having played passive, old school cricket, described the display at Edgbaston as “close to perfect”.
Former skipper Michael Vaughan, who labelled England startled rabbits after the World Cup, said on Twitter: “Still can’t believe what we saw in Birmingham yesterday…Remarkable mindset turnaround from what we saw at the World Cup.”
Joe Root and Jos Buttler hit centuries, in 71 and 66 balls respectively, while Buttler and Adil Rashid put on 177 for the seventh wicket as England’s decision to release the shackles on their young guns paid handsome dividends.
Thrashed by New Zealand in February as the World Cup campaign petered out, England promised a change of approach and were as good as their word, blazing away with almost reckless abandon despite losing opener Jason Roy from the first ball of the match.
They responded with a blaze of aggressive strokeplay which included 14 sixes, two more than their ODI record set against South Africa in 2009.
“We have had an attacking mindset, but the execution hasn’t always been there,” said 28-year-old Morgan, who also managed a half century. “Attacking cricket comes naturally to the guys we have selected.
“We normally go into our shells, that’s just how we play cricket in England because the ball moves around.
“Slowly but surely we have to move to the other end of the spectrum and stop playing safe cricket. Today is a big step towards that.”
England’s next opportunity to display their new-found verve will be in the second match against New Zealand at the Oval on Friday. –Reuters