Collingwood concentrates on England
England will soon discover the identity of their ICC World Twenty20 semi-final opponents - not that it bothers captain Paul Collingwood.
Eoin Morgan and man of the match Tim Bresnan were to the fore yesterday as Collingwood’s team transported their Barbados form to St Lucia to claim a three-wicket win over New Zealand and complete their Super Eight programme with a 100% record and the title of group winners.
The portents are uniformly good for England, with Kevin Pietersen due back tomorrow in time for Thursday’s semi-final following the birth of his son in London yesterday.
That match will be against the runners-up in Group F, and, with Australia looking certain to top the group even if they lose today to West Indies today, England appear set to face Sri Lanka, the hosts or even India.
Collingwood, however, is untroubled by who makes up the opposition or when they do it.
“We all know we haven’t won an ICC trophy,” he said. “In the semis, and if we get through to the final, I won’t be bothered who we’re playing.
“Who we play doesn’t really matter. I’m just absolutely delighted to get through to the semis.
“All the teams that are in the semis now are very, very strong and we’ve got to keep this belief and momentum going. We’ve got two games and we could win a World Cup.
“The confidence is sky high and we’re all very excited to be in this position. Winning would be an exceptional effort.”
Morgan’s runs - he made a timely 40 off 34 balls - and Bresnan’s all-round performance - 1-20 off four overs and a rapid 23 not out - against the Black Caps were fresh examples of England pulling together and contributing collectively, and Collingwood wants more of the same.
“If we want to go all the way it’s going to take a team effort,” he added. “We’ll all have to put our hands up at certain points.
“With Swanny (Graeme Swann) and Broady (Stuart Broad) coming in, even after Bressy, we’ve got a really strong line-up.
“A special mention has to go to the two guys up front (Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb) too, for the way they’re taking the game to the opposition and giving us that real kickstart. That really does take the pressure off the middle order.”
As for Pietersen’s anticipated return after a double dash across the Atlantic, that is simply another reason for England’s smiles.
“It’s perfect timing in many ways,” added Collingwood. “I’m delighted for him. Everybody’s healthy so it’s fantastic.
“The great thing for the England cricket team is that he’s going to be back for the semi-finals.”