Champions Trophy

Collingwood completes a cool dispatch

Zimbabwe outclassed, outplayed and out of their depth as England move on to the real test

England duly dispatched Zimbabwe yesterday. There was no undue haste, no unnecessary fuss, no meaningless all-time world records created, nothing at all to get excited about.

England duly dispatched Zimbabwe yesterday. There was no undue haste, no unnecessary fuss, no meaningless all-time world records created, nothing at all to get excited about.

A bunch of trained professionals methodically if not flawlessly overwhelmed a group of well-intentioned enthusiasts. It was not exactly the moment that the Champions Trophy took off.

The result and the mismatch went according to the preordained script. Only the manner in which they were shaped was slightly less predictable. On the first rain-curtailed day, England's batting was defective, with just a hint of a superior swagger about it, but they rectified that yesterday by going on to make their highest one-day score against Zimbabwe. Paul Collingwood, the type of player who would stay unsung even if a full-scale musical were written about him, made a diligent and increasingly rapid unbeaten 80 from 93 balls, the 45 runs he made yesterday coming from only 37 balls. He was rightly man of the match for the fifth time in his international career.

The 152-run margin of victory, also England's biggest against Zimbabwe, might have been greater had they held all their catches. It was not quite slipshod, but it was a reminder of the work to be done. There are batsmen in this tournament who will not give second chances, whereas it was difficult to avoid the feeling that Zimbabwe's might have offered two, three, four or five and gone on offering until one was taken.

All that is left for England to do now to reach the semi-finals of this mini-World Cup in their own country is to beat Sri Lanka on Friday. Sri Lanka, who first play Zimbabwe on Tuesday, have won 16 of their last 17 matches. This makes them a different proposition, but a seaming pitch in the English autumn might render them less effective than they would be, say, on a slow turner in Colombo in high, humid summer. England would like to win the toss and bowl.

Ideally, that is what they would wish to have done against Zimbabwe, but it did not matter much. Here were a bunch of players as short of international class for the moment, and probably long into the future, as the earth is distant from the sun. Eight of them are 21 or under. Whatever their earnest protestations, most of them will be aware that they have been pitched into the team only because of the dispute between the Zimbabwean Cricket Union and 15 senior players. However that is resolved - and an ICC inquiry will report in mid-October - those men are probably lost to international cricket for good.

The new team have to get on with it. Tatenda Taibu, their 21-year-old captain, who made a limited but gritty 40 yesterday, thinks it will take four years for them to start winning. But in truth, they may become so scarred by constant beatings that it will need at least another generation for Zimbabwe to be competitive.

England are playing five one-day matches in Zimbabwe in November. Under ICC regulations they have no choice but to tour, and because Michael Vaughan's England are a genuine team with a sincere collective responsibility not to be found in most government cabinets, there are unlikely to be withdrawals on moral grounds. Although there is the distinct possibility that Andrew Flintoff and Stephen Harmison will be rested for greater trials ahead, it is otherwise likely to be a case of one in, all in.

There is still a chance that the 12-day tour will be called off. If the racism allegations are proven, the ICC must be seen to act. It is whispered that some of the evidence so far given to the inquiry supports the charges, but the legal bods who will deliver a verdict may interpret it differently. The truth remains that Zimbabwe's impact on cricket is completely at odds with their ability.

Almost the best that can be said about them is that they refused to be intimidated by England on the first day, and took some corking catches. But there was always a suspicion that it was a hanging on to the opposition's coat-tails type of defiance. They were hapless yesterday as Collingwood, first with Geraint Jones and then with Ashley Giles, took them apart, mostly with forceful running and placement rather than big hitting.

Tinashe Panyangara, an 18-year-old swing bowler of some promise, conceded 86 runs in his 10 overs and immediately entered the top 10 of least economical bowling spells in sixth place. It is to be hoped that this sort of treatment will not arrest his development; earlier this year in the Under-19 World Cup, Panyan-gara took 6 for 31 against Australia to propel Zimbabwe to an astonishing win.

A target of 300 was completely out of Zimbabwe's scope. They can take some heart from the three men who reached double figures, the worthy Taibu as well as Vusimuzi Sibanda, who looked well ordered, and Elton Chigumbura, who finished on 42 not out from only 47 balls.

Darren Gough claimed the first two wickets, and the rest of the damage was shared around. Only Alex Wharf went wicketless, and he bowled too short and with extreme indifference in conceding 45 runs in seven overs. But it would be unfair to heap derision on him for a below-par performance, just as it was misguided to suggest that he had taken to international cricket as to the manor born when he took three quick wickets on his debut a fortnight ago.

Today's match in the competition sees South Africa attempt to end a losing sequence of 10, which they should do against Bangladesh. But it is later in the week that the Champions Trophy gets real for all concerned.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines