England swimming in their depth
Michael Yardy praised England’s strength in depth as they confirmed their ability to bat deep, by recovering from nine for three to pull of a five-wicket victory over South Africa at the Kensington Oval.
They were indebted principally to Eoin Morgan’s 63 - after the top three did not fire - but also left-arm spinner Yardy with the ball.
Yardy took two more wickets, to add to his three in yesterday’s first ICC World Twenty20 warm-up win over Bangladesh, as England restricted their opponents to 125 for five this time.
But afterwards, Yardy was at pains to point out the importance of collective talent in the ranks.
“The squad is very versatile. I think we’re covered in all bases,” said the Sussex captain. “As we showed today, we lost three early wickets but still won against a very good team.”
Morgan came to the fore with a 53-ball half-century, after Kevin Pietersen fell first ball on his return to the team.
“Eoin Morgan obviously played fantastically well, supported by Paul Collingwood and Tim Bresnan and Wrighty [Luke Wright] at the end to finish it off,” added Yardy.
“It was a really good performance, after being three down (early).”
Yardy was impressed by England’s efforts in the field too.
“What we did well was limit them early; I think they were five off three overs.
“That put the momentum in our favour. Then we took a wicket and made it difficult for them to claw it back until the last overs, because you obviously want to keep wickets in hand.”
Yardy is heartened not just to have won against Bangladesh and South Africa but to have done so at the venue which will host matches in the later stages of the tournament, including the final.
“It’s been good to have two warm-up games here - because if we were to get through, then obviously we play here,” he added.
“The pitch has got decent pace and bounce and is gripping a little bit for the spin, so all in all we’re well suited for it.”
He is naturally delighted with his own performance.
“My goal here is to come out and play it game by game, and I’m really happy with the way it’s gone.
“Obviously, these are warm-up games. But it’s great for the team and me to get off to a positive start with two wins against two decent teams.
“It means we can start the tournament full of confidence.”
Ravi Bopara played a match-winning hand against Bangladesh but lost his place to Pietersen today.
Yardy believes the Essex batsman is still in the equation to return as England assess their options for two Group D matches against Ireland and West Indies in Guyana next week.
“Ravi certainly played very, very well the other day - and has in the IPL too.
“So I think it’s a great headache for the selectors to have.”