Ok, well this is one way to negotiate qualifying from the group stages. England are still waiting on Bangledesh's final match against South Africa, but their campaign took another twist as Andrew Strauss's side pulled their finger out against West Indies.
World Cup campaign has taken supporters on a remarkable rollercoaster ride
which has seen them lurch violently from a thrilling victory over South Africa,
to a dramatic tie with India, and dismal defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh.
Then today in Chennai, Strauss's side looked on the brink of defeat on numerous occasions, only for another inevitably dramatic finale to fall their way.
This is Cowers' assessment of the rollercoaster ride which England have taken their supporters on in Group B - should their adventure continue into the knock-out stages, all fans are advised to consult medical advice.
England beat Netherlands by six wickets
seen minnows Kenya skittled for 69 just a couple of days earlier, a tie against
the Netherlands looked just the kind of gentle introduction England needed to
Not so - a bright start from the Dutch turned into a
glowing performance as county cricket star Ryan ten Doeschate flayed England to
all parts. With every boundary the England fielding effort degenerated, moving
seamlessly from clumsy to ragged to farcical.
Highlights included James
Anderson and Kevin Pietersen both leaving the same steepling chance off Graeme
Swann's bowling, while Swann himself then missed a dolly in the deep as the
Dutch racked up 292 for six wickets.
In reply, England's chase look far more
assured one now that it is committed to paper than it was at the time. Ian Bell
and Jonathan Trott fell in quick succession when well set to leave England
chasing another awkward 52 runs, and as Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara played
themselves in, the required run rate leapt to 8.25 an over with four overs to
Only Bopara's emphatic finish in the penultimate over, scoring 16 from the
final four balls, sealed victory.
England tie with India
The term imperious is used with reckless
abandon at times, but never has it been more apt than in describing Andrew
Strauss and the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar's epic centuries in their Bangalore thriller which ended in a tie.
Strauss plundered a quite incredible ton
himself as he looked to have secured the third highest run-chase of all time
and the highest in World Cup cricket for his side, only for the dreaded batting
powerplay to rear its ugly head and prompt a swift England implosion.
The 33-year-old's ton was the highest score
ever by an England captain in a World Cup as he rapidly and heroically switched
a seemingly desperate position for his side into one of the most enthralling
and impressive attempted chases of all time.
But England effectively snatched defeat from the jaws of
victory, then a tie from the jaws of defeat as Zaheer Khan breezed through the
England middle-to-lower order and left their hopes of an improbable and
thrilling victory in tatters, before 12 runs off the final over salvaged a tie.
It was a tale of two stunning centuries as Tendulkar's
scintillating effort was emulated by Strauss and the vociferous Chinnaswamy
Stadium crowd was silenced, leaving England at least arresting a run of 11 from
their last 12 matches of pyjama cricket in India with a deserved point.
England lose to Ireland by three wickets
On the face of it there was something
deeply familiar to England fans about their defeat to Ireland.
A staggering upset in the one-day game,
having hinted at so much more in a fiercely fought tie with India just three
If that sounded harsh to Ireland, the scale
of the upset reflected the position from which Ireland launched their
They needed to score 217 runs from the
final 25 overs (8.6 an over) with just five wickets remaining - and they
Another tragicomedy to go with England's
loss to the Netherlands in the World Twenty20 at Lord's two years ago?
Ireland pulled off one of the most famous
victories in World Cup history by beating England in Bangalore, while England's
slipshod fielding was finally exposed.
Kevin O'Brien scored a 50-ball hundred - a
World Cup record - and Ireland chased a record total in the history of the
tournament. Kevin Pietersen made 50 and got out to a reverse sweep. Andrew
Strauss dropped O'Brien on 91.
We hoped for an epic, and the match
England beat South Africa by six runs
few people saw it coming. After England were skittled out for a meagre 171 it
seemed all that would follow would be a solemn atmosphere at Timmy Bresnan's
daily curry night out in Chennai.
combination of an inspired, gutsy and spirited bowling display from England on
a tired, turgid wicket, and an unexpected capitulation of biblical standards
from South Africa saw Andrew Strauss's side claim a thrilling six-run
The way South Africa responded to the pressure
of chasing down a pretty paltry total against a bowling attack which has been
roundly derided all tournament was astonishingly flaky.
It would have been overly simplistic to have jumped on
the 'South Africa are the kings of the World Cup choke' line, but the onus is
simply on Graeme Smith and his men to disprove that theory once and for all.
Of course, while it was a hugely deflating defeat to
England after having been in such a commanding position of ascendancy for much
of the game, South Africa can still win the World Cup this time around.
England lose to Bangladesh by two wickets
England rightly came in for a heavy dose of
criticism in the wake of their inauspicious showing against an inspired and
courageous Bangladesh but, for all their sins, Andrew Strauss's side proved
themselves once again to be cricket's chief entertainers.
The ludicrously underrated Mahmudullah
again distinguished himself from number seven with an unbeaten 21. Imrul Kayes
was superb at the top of the order, playing the straight Ernie Wise to Tamim
Iqbal's Eric Morecambe with an intelligent, mature 60.
Where England lost their composure and
their cool, Bangladesh held their nerve and showed their spirit.
Graeme Swann lost his temper incredibly as
he berated umpire Daryl Harper constantly with a volley of abuse following
every rejected appeal or request to change the ball for a second time.
Swann had smoke billowing from
his ears as he lambasted his skipper Andrew Strauss for not agreeing to
have a speculative caught behind appeal reviewed, before turning his attention
to Harper as he battled to grip the dew-drenched ball.
Anderson lost his cool in a very different manner, seemingly
sustaining a bout of the yips as he sprayed the ball around in a Mitchell
Johnson-esque spraygun fashion.
England were thoroughly usurped, and
Bangladesh have every right to enjoy and relish a historic victory on home
turf. The only sad element to all of this for the hosts is that almost half of
the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium had streamed from the exits with their side
reeling on 169 for eight.
England beat West Indies by 18 runs
campaign of ludicrously slender margins, England gave themselves a fighting
chance of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals after emerging victorious in a
monstrous battle of wills against West Indies at Chennai.
contest that fully lived up to the "arse-nipper" billing that Graeme
Swann had given it beforehand, England once again teetered on the brink of
oblivion before the spin of Swann and James Tredwell hauled them back into
contention in a sensational denouement.
244 for victory, West Indies were coasting on 222 for 6, before losing their
last four wickets for three runs in 20 deliveries.
a finale that would have been sensational in any other context, but coming from
a team that has managed to turn each of its six qualifying fixtures into horror-shows
best viewed from behind the sofa through cracks in the fingers, it was a finale
that teetered towards self-parody.
a schizophrenic batting performance, in which Jonathan Trott shed his demure
image to crash six fours from his first nine balls, England themselves crashed
from 121 for 2 to 151 for 6, before Luke Wright justified his first call-up of
the campaign with a vital 44.
eventual total was at least 30 runs below par, but not for the first time, the
team's fighting spirit made up for it lacked in planning and application. The
inevitable crazed team huddle acknowledged as much.
SHOT OF THE DAY: Kieron Pollard unfurled some
pretty staggering shots, but his towering six into the stands over cow corner
takes the award due to the sheer monumental power of the blow.
STAT OF THE DAY: Amid all the
chaos, it went relatively unnoticed that Jonathan Trott become the
tournament's leading run scorer with 336 to his name.
TWEET OF THE DAY: "... NZ's JACOB ORAM
"shaken but unhurt" after dreaming he was a tadpole, sleepwalking
into hotel pond and attempting to cut own tail off..." (Another
searing insight into the Kiwi camp courtesy of cricket comedian Andy Zaltzman.)
USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "My dodgy ticker is in all
sorts of trouble thanks to England, and I have to go for a lie down after
following each and every live commentary! England, please stop it, I beg
you." (Gerry implores Strauss's
side to go easy on him.)
COMING UP: Ireland take
on the Netherlands in a Group B dead rubber at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, before
New Zealand and Sri Lanka jostle for quarter-final seedings at the Wankhede
Stadium in Mumbai.
CAPTION COMPETITION: Stevedon7 takes the
accolade of 'best caption' from yesterday's blog, while today we have this
offering for you to comment on... The winner, as always, will be announced in
the next blog.
Follow Cow Corner on Twitter!