England cannot get too disheartened by their humbling defeat to the West Indies. They need to forget it, it’s gone.
I wrote last week that I believe England are capable of winning the World Twenty20 in India and I stand by that. There is absolutely no reason why they cannot bounce back from their disappointing loss in Mumbai.
Eoin Morgan’s side, on its day, is as good as anyone in the competition and there have been teams in the past that have lost their opening game of a World Cup and gone on to win the tournament.
That said, defeat does raise the stakes of Friday’s showdown with South Africa. There will undoubtedly be a higher pressure because a second defeat would put England very much on the back foot.
It would be incredibly difficult to absorb a second setback, not least because confidence would decrease massively and any semblance of momentum would crumble.
Centurion Chris Gayle played a phenomenal innings and you’ve just got to take your hat off to him. No matter who you are, how fast you bowl or how slow you bowl, if he gets himself in and gets going it’s impossible to bowl to him. He’s so powerful.
On quicker pitches the shorter ball is probably something you can trouble him with but on slower surfaces, like in Mumbai, that won’t be as effective as he can just pull you off the front foot.
Sometimes you’ve just got to hope he makes a mistake and hits one up in the air. He dispatched me over the ropes a few times in my career and watching his knock made me glad I’m now retired.
If England had snared Gayle early, it could very easily have been a different story but that didn’t happen, unfortunately. On the whole I don’t think England bowled too badly, although they were lacking in that department at times.
The one member of the attack who stood out as bowling particularly poorly was all-rounder Ben Stokes. He seemed to be bowling a lot of different deliveries rather than concentrating on bowling his best ball.
Sometimes your best ball can still be destroyed by Gayle but I felt he was trying too hard. There was some real rubbish in there, too many long hops and half-volleys, which top-level players will simply dispatch to the boundary.
Stokes is a class player and he won’t be happy with what he produced. He’ll bounce back though, which is something England need to do as a collective against South Africa on Friday.