England’s 327 wasn’t enough against Ireland, but 171 was enough against South Africa. It’s not a matter of different opponents, it’s different conditions. This is why between-innings analysis is so often virtually worthless.
What constitutes a good score varies because a run doesn’t have a set value – it changes depending on the match. People who rate one batsman as being better than another because he averages half a run more would do well to learn that.
On the other hand, in England’s case you could say that lower scores are better. When runs are more valuable, England have been less spendthrift in the field. With that in mind, a good World Cup score for them would be somewhere around 11 or 12 – maybe as much as 30.
Up until their last match, England had been scoring far too heavily to be realistic challengers for this World Cup, so the injury to Kevin Pietersen could prove a godsend. Calling up Eoin Morgan as his replacement would be a massive mistake. It would make far more sense to call up someone like Devon Malcolm to play as a specialist batsman.
The ‘scoring fewer runs’ tactic does fall down a bit if you’re chasing a target we’ve just realised. They say that nothing is certain in cricket, but you’d be lucky to get away with a tie if you scored 52 and the opposition scored 320.