Moeen Ali v Lasith Malinga

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Lasith Malinga has got a rough idea what he's doing in Twenty20 cricket

In Cricinfo’s preview, it is suggested that England might target Ajantha Mendis. That is the best plan going: England batsmen targeting a weird spin bowler – England’s batsmen being famously good against weird spin bowlers. But it’s that or try and hit Lasith Malinga for six, so attacking Mendis it is.

It will take a marked change in fortunes for both teams if this is to end in an England win. The contrast is great. Sri Lanka settled on a way of playing quite some time ago and it works for them. For their part, England are trying things. ‘You never know’ seems to be their motto. Sri Lanka can afford to leave out wily old Rangana Herath who goes at less than a run a ball in domestic Twenty20 and not much more than that in the six internationals he’s played. England have Moeen Ali at three.

We’ve mentioned Ali before and we don’t want you to get the impression that we don’t rate him. He’s a good player, we expect to see more of him and we’ll be willing him to do well when he comes to the crease. We’re only being critical of the fact that England are entering a must-win World Cup game with a pivotal batsman for whom “the 36 against New Zealand revealed glimpses of his ability” according to that Cricinfo preview.

Ali’s international experience is genuinely measured in weeks. That’s not his fault, but we don’t really buy the argument that inexperienced players often play with greater freedom. That’s just rhetoric masking the fact that your planning was crap. In knock-out matches (which this basically is) you’re usually better off with players who are numb to the less important aspects of playing for your country.

A 32-ball Moeen Ali hundred will not disprove this. All that would mean is that England’s selectors and management got lucky. If they truly knew he was capable of such a thing, he should have been brought into the side months ago.

30 comments

  1. Off topic, but apparently the Indian Supreme Court wants Srini to be replaced with Sunny. This would be great. No Srini, and Gavaskar-free airwaves. Yay!

  2. Slightly unfair to pick on Moeen. There are others in this team who are not contributing. Alex Hales has got no business opening the batting in Bangladesh, in my opinion.

    1. “…we don’t want you to get the impression that we don’t rate him.”

      We’re really not picking on him. We’ve only got an issue with how he finds himself in a really important position for a World Cup with little experience of international cricket.

      Hales has earned the right to fail. He’s probably been England’s most reliable Twenty20 batsman over the last couple of years.

  3. I was worried. England have only beaten SL once in T20s, and that on the back of a KP barnstormer. Who he? you might ask.

    Then I read Vic Marks article in the Grauniad this morning, and in particular this:

    ‘”We’re bowling with wet balls, catching wet balls, batting with wet balls,” Bopara assured us.’

    It’s difficult to remain worried when laughing so hard.

    1. A what barnstormer? Wash your mouth out, String, and repeat after Giles Clarke. It didn’t happen, he’s never been important, we don’t need him. It didn’t happen, he’s never been important, we don’t need him.

      History can be so malleable when you put the effort in.

    2. Malleable like wet balls, perhaps.
      Apologies all round. I’ll restrict myself to Mooen Ali references from now on.

    1. The Hollands ARE the new Pakistan – awesome one moment, awful the next. A stereotype in the making…

  4. Unable to watch the game, so trying to pick up from the Guardian and BBC. Have we dropped 3 catches? And Mahela should have been given first ball. And Ravi has not had a bowl?

    We are going to be stuffed.

    1. Yes, that’s about the size of it. Dilshan’s labouring at about a run a ball and yet Sri Lanka are still scoring ten an over.

  5. There is an easy way for England to win. Malinga has been officially dubbed the ‘death bowler’ and so is not going to come in to bowl till the 14th over. So England should score one run more than SL by the end of the thirteenth over.

    Things are actually pretty simple if you think them out logically.

    1. Oh Mo. I had such high hopes.

      First aim is score more then the Hollands did against the Lankans.

  6. ahhhhh… you gotta laugh

    (i have sitting here giggling helplessly while looking at the scorecard. this might say more about me than it does anything else though.)

    1. Luke Wright’s 99 not out is the best effort thus far, although Hales himself has a 99 (out) and a 94.

  7. I think my iphone has malfunctioned. Does anyone know the number I should call for Apple support?

    I have just checked the cricket score on it and the silly gadget infers that England won the game.

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