The smile was tinged with relief. Paul Collingwood, England's captain, knew his team had managed one of the great comebacks last night to follow one of the great cock-ups but then he knew that is precisely what they had to do.
"I wish I knew the reason," trying hard to contain his understandable joy. "I am still convinced that Friday night was meant to happen. I wish I could put a finger on it but we knew what we had to do and we went and did it. It was do or die for us and we delivered."
Collingwood himself was under as much pressure as his team but he did not allow that to affect his determination to ensure that players went out and, in the modern jargon, expressed themselves. Needing to win they were not about to go down wondering where it had gone wrong.
"There were 11 men who played for their pride out there," he said. "They all came through, they showed they could take the pressure."
He had some special words of praise for the man of the match, Luke Wright, who insisted on taking the attack to Pakistan after the early loss of the man in form, Ravi Bopara. "He's got to have a special mention because he had to be brave after Ravi went and he had the balls to keep going all the way. Wright made only 34 but it came off 16 balls and England felt as though they were on their way.
"I'm loving the captaincy now but I wasn't loving it on Friday night believe me," said Collingwood. "I know I've got 11 good men in the dressing room who have backed me up. They wanted to go out there and show what they could do and they did that. They showed their character and it shows we have real men in the dressing room."
If it was hardly Churchillian everybody knew what he meant. England had come into the match against a multi-talented side and played them at their own game. "There was a lot of clear thinking tonight."
Not as much could be said for Pakistan, although their captain Younus Khan did not appear to crestfallen by defeat. Many of his countrymen may find it hard to agree but he said: "We didn't field very well and it's a problem for us at the moment. But Twenty20 is a fun game. It's meant to be fun, that's all."
How much fun he may find out against Netherlands tomorrow at Lord's.Reuse content