Composed England please Colly
Paul Collingwood was delighted with England’s mettle as they refused to panic on the way to a six-wicket victory in their World Twenty20 warm-up game against Scotland.
Collingwood agreed England could easily have lost their way against the competition minnows under the floodlights at Trent Bridge.
However, a shock defeat was avoided largely because of Kevin Pietersen’s 39-ball half-century as England passed the visitors’ 136 for five with an over to spare.
“It’s very easy to panic in those situations when you lose a couple of wickets, but I thought the way we knocked them off was pretty good,” said captain Collingwood.
England’s problems began when off-spinner Majid Haq took two wickets in as many balls to reduce them to 57 for three. Pietersen, though, kept his cool to hit four fours and two sixes.
“There are obviously areas where we could have played a little bit better, but I thought the way we knocked the runs off there and the way KP took the lead role was excellent,” Collingwood added.
“The thing I was really pleased with was the way the guys stuck to the plan out there and got us over the line.
"It’s a classic game where you think you can go out there and smash it all over the place, and it wasn’t actually that easy.
“Ideally, we would have been another 20% (improvement) with our batting and the pace that we went at, but I thought the attitude we showed in knocking the runs off was a really good pointer for the tournament.”
Pietersen proved his wellbeing after missing the NatWest Series with an Achilles injury.
“He’s obviously raring to go; he has had a few weeks off through injury and he’s got that buzz about him,” said Collingwood.
“He’s got a big smile on his face, and I thought it was a really mature innings from him. We’re going to need more of those kind of innings off him during the tournament.”
England travel south to face West Indies in their final warm-up match at Lord’s tomorrow night, and Collingwood believes their preparations are on track.
“Some of our bowling, we need to work on a little bit,” he conceded. “But I thought our skills were excellent tonight, and the angles and plans worked really well at the death.”
Stuart Broad’s final over - from around the wicket to a wide line outside off stump - was a particular triumph, restricting Scotland to just two runs.
It was an innovative tactic, and Collingwood admitted it was tempting to hold such a new idea back as a surprise for the tournament proper.
On the other hand, he needs to see something successfully transferred from nets to middle before he dare risk it in a high-pressure situation.
“I think you have to make sure they work before you go into the actual tournament,” Collingwood said.
“We haven’t got a hell of a lot of time to experiment and you have to make sure these kind of plans work in the first place.I think it’s an ideal opportunity to get them right.
“It’s a good point that they are now out in the open. But if you nail them they are still going to be very hard to play against.”
Scotland captain Gavin Hamilton was left to rue Scotland's failure to make hay at the end of their innings.
“We set our stall out to get 145 to 160, which we thought would be a very competitive score," he said.
“We’d never come across somebody coming around the wicket and throwing it outside off stump - hence probably leaving the last three balls of the innings.
“Our batsmen had never seen anything like it. Over the last two overs, it probably cost us another 15 runs. In this form of the game, that makes a massive difference.”
As for England, Hamilton is convinced the country for whom he played one Test 10 years ago may turn out to be world-beaters this summer.
“I’ve watched England quite closely over the last three weeks, and I think their professionalism is shining out for the world to see,” he said.
“I genuinely believe England aren’t going to be far away. I really do think they’ve got the talent and the right recipe in the team they’ve got this year.”