To a neutral fan, tonight’s game would have been the best thing since sliced bread. Even as England fans, it wasn’t bad to watch. Although the result went against England, the prospect of 457 runs in 40 overs is mouth-watering.
England’s chase was far from disappointing. To score 209 in an innings is hugely impressive, a feat which should win 99/100 t20s. Unfortunately, the home side fell 39 runs short. That large a deficit is often seen as embarrassing, but when you’re chasing the second highest ever t20i score, don’t anticipate a win.
Aaron Finch’s sublime knock of 156 in 63 balls is one of the best innings’ ever witnessed. 14 sixes was a perfect reflection of his true potential. A First-class average of under 30 seems to suggest his talents lie as a t20 specialist, a point perfectly proven by his match-changing performance tonight.
Positives can still be taken by England. Jade Dernbach, despite being abhorred by the majority of England fans, came out as the best bowler, taking 4-0-34-3. The rest of his team consisted of 16-0-212-3. His slower ball proved a useful tool at the death of the innings, both taking wickets and restricting runs.
Joe Root wouldn’t have been in my side tonight, but he impressed with the bat. 90 off 49 was an admiral effort, yet only cleared the ropes once. Root’s recherché innings demonstrated pure class, choosing caress over violent slogs. He proved that however crowd-pleasing sixes are, they are not essential to a sterling innings.
With the second t20 at Durham on Saturday, England will need to reconsider their plans to win and level the series. The addition of Michael Carberry would be the obvious change, possibly replacing out of form Eoin Morgan. Danny Briggs’ upward struggle tonight could result in him also missing out, in favour of James Tredwell. One thing that is for sure, it will be a brilliant game.