Natwest Final: Eng Vs. Aus

Man, what a final! Hats off to England for their fighting performance. Its commendable to see tail-enders fight it out till the very end. (I can’t remember the last time India’s tail-enders accomplished anything even remotely close).

The Aussie’s are still struggling. They no longer look like a champion, unbeatable side. All out under 50 overs for a score of less than 200! Hussey is a great find. I think Katich should be brought in place of Hayden (who hasn’t made a big score in a long time). Gillespie could use a break. He has become the weak link in their bowling attack. Shaun Tait or whoeverelse is on the bench should be given a shot. After the wonderful opening spells from McGrath and Lee, Symonds kept one end tight, but Gillespie was exposed. Ponting’s gamble of going for wickets caused him dearly because his best three (McGrath, Lee and Symonds) had very few overs left and Collingwood and Jones setlled in well by the time Hogg came on. It might have proved better if he had introduced Hogg earlier in the attack promptly after England were reduced to 33 for 5. In a desperate attempt to hit their way out of trouble the England batsmen might have tried to attack Hogg and lost their wickets. I guess Ponting had more faith in his bowling attack to get the needed breakthoughs.

England’s top order is in bad shape. But their bowling looks very strong. Most importantly, they appear to be an inspired, fighting unit just when the Aussie’s seem vulnerable.

It will be very interesting to see the new ICC rules for ODI in action in the three-match Natwest Challenge.

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