Tuesday 25th May
England v Zimbabwe
Tail-Ender discovers revenge is a dish best served lukewarm
Unfortunately Tail-Ender was denied the chance of witnessing England v Zimbabwe in person and had to content himself with viewing the action from the comfort of his cricketing armchair. Still a day's couch cricket is never to be sniffed at and it's fair to say there was more than the usual bit of needle going into the match after England's humiliating 3-0 defeat in the one-dayers over in Zimbabwe a couple of winter's back. The entente cordial was further disturbed by some of the Zimbabwean's pre-match comments which ran along the lines of "We've beaten you in five of the last six , so had over the two points now, it's scarcely worth turning up."
The Zimbabweans certainly talked a good game but England, as Zimbabwe found to their cost, are a different kettle of fish in their own back yard and after Stewart had won an important toss Gough, Mullally and Ealham swung the ball and ran through the Zimbabwe top order like a dose of the trots. Nasser Hussain engineered a spectacular run out, Grant Flower top scored with 35, and without the telling contribution of the next highest scorer Eddy Extras on 34, their wholly inadequate 167 all out, would have been an even more woeful 133.
Stewart and Hick then departed early, but Nasser and Graham Thorpe's third wicket partnership steered England to within a sniff of their eventual romping seven wicket victory, and despite some shilly shallying over scoring the final runs, it was a comprehensive win and a result which the Zim's pre-game hype certainly hadn't predicted. Unfortunately Eddo Brandes the chicken farmer and former hat-trick hero was missing and apparently had gone free range for the da, but Tail-Ender derived a certain smug satisfaction from Alec Stewart's understated post match verdict, "We let our cricket do the talking".
Now Tail-Ender is not usually one to apply his size twelves when a side are down but the Zim's pre-game swaggering was patently just ridiculous and what made the taste of victory even more sweet was Coach Dave Houghton's boastful promise that "We're coming to get you" and "We look on this game as our Banker." Tail-Ender has some advice: better start looking for an overdraft facility Dave and while outgoing England coach David Lloyd has probably been banned from ever mentioning the phrase that dare not speak its name again, Tail-Ender is not afraid to say that on this occasion, "We flippin' murdered em."