Stuart Broad's simple plan for England: stop losing early wickets

Trophy defence is on the line against New Zealand today, but the captain remains upbeat

England's hopes of retaining the World Twenty20 title are hanging by a thread. Anything can happen in this form of the game but the evidence suggests that there will soon be a loud snap with the horrible fall to earth that entails.

Stuart Broad, a young captain in his first major tournament, was candid in apportioning blame yesterday and recognising what needs to start going right in the second Super Eight match against New Zealand today. "What we have to do is stop losing early wickets," he said. "It has not been the same guy every time but the No 3 has been in in the first couple of overs in every game we've played, which is not good enough. That can really hurt you.

"Last night you watch the best striker in the world in Chris Gayle. He never goes from ball one, does he? He has a little look, assesses the wicket, then explodes."

It has been the essential difference between England and their opponents in their last two matches. In the first, against India, they were three down before the powerplay was out, while they did not take India's second wicket until the 11th over and the third until the 16th. Against West Indies, England were two down after three balls; their opponents did not lose their first wicket until the 11th over.

If England cannot learn from Gayle the master, they are incapable of learning. But in both batting and bowling there is a stark contrast to their grand victory two years ago. Then, their opening pair usually took England at least into the twenties and on the two occasions they lost their first wicket in the opening over, the second put on 94 and 111.

The bowlers are going for more boundaries. Of the runs conceded last time, 41.6 per cent were conceded in boundaries, easily the lowest proportion; this time it is 57.81, close to the highest.

Broad said: "We need to take a bit more responsibility and protect the wickets, especially in that first over, because it's not like we've been getting got out – some of the decisions in that first over have been pretty poor."

So far, Broad has been left to tell it like it is by himself, both before and after matches. The England coach, Andy Flower, has not spoken a word about this tournament in public, either about how England prepared or about how they are progressing. Though he remains approachable and affable, it is rare for Flower either to explain or elucidate these days. Thirteen England matches have gone by since last he did so, a lack of communication that would be unthinkable for his England football and rugby counterparts, Roy Hodgson and Stuart Lancaster. At this rate it cannot be long before Flower follows Greta Garbo and says: "I want to be alone."

There is plenty to talk about. Engand remain in credit for the year, having won 20 and lost 12 of their 36 matches in all forms of the game, but it is clear all is not well. Their Test form has been poor, their one-day form correspondingly good, they have lost a captain and are in dispute with their star player.

Talks with Kevin Pietersen remain unresolved, with no firm idea about how they are progressing, save for slowly. No white smoke has been seen rising from ECB headquarters at Lord's. Flower's silence suggests that he does not want to be drawn into talking about the issue but it is possible to surmise that it must be a distraction even for such a single-minded chap:here he is trying to knock a young, inexperienced team into shape while the batsman who could really offer them something extra is offering his opinions on local television every night. If so, Broad has not noticed.

Asked about Flower's mood, he said: "He's relaxed. He knows we are doing some really good things and how we are playing. I think it's good now we have experienced what this wicket is like and what a par score is and how to build an innings on it. We have not had a batting performance with everyone clicking just yet but when we do we will be a very dangerous proposition. We've got some brilliant players in this line-up and it's important that we back them, to give them confidence."

New Zealand may still be drained after their Super Over defeat to Sri Lanka in the opening Super Eight game. It was a reminder to England that they need to plan for such eventualities. Martin Guptill, the Kiwi opener, tried to perk them up a little. "It is just what happened in a couple of games," he said. "We know that they come out firing. If we can pick up a couple of wickets we can see the benefits of that, but T20 is a funny game and a couple of shots can get a batsman firing."

New Zealand are a much older, well-rehearsed side. It is time for England to make their inexperience count.

Pallekele: Details

Teams

England (probable) C Kieswetter (wkt), A D Hales, L J Wright, E J G Morgan, J M Bairstow, J C Buttler, S R Patel, S C J Broad (capt), G P Swann, S T Finn, J W Dernbach.

New Zealand (probable) L R P L Taylor (capt), R J Nicol, M J Guptill, B B McCullum (wkt), K S Williamson, J D P Oram, N L McCullum, J E C Franklin, D L Vettori, T G Southee, K D Mills.

Umpires

S Taufel (Aus) and A Rauf (Pak)

Weather

Warm, dry and overcast for most of the afternoon, intermittent sun.

Maximum temperature: 30C.

TV times

Sky Sports 3, 10.30am-2.30pm

England's qualification route

England can still qualify for the World Twenty20 semi-finals if they lose to New Zealand today.

For this to happen, West Indies would need to win both their remaining matches, against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

This would leave West Indies on six points and the other three with two points each, to be separated by net run rate.

If England win today but then lost to Sri Lanka, they would need Sri Lanka to have won all their matches and for New Zealand to defeat West Indies.

Sri Lanka would then be on six, with the others on two each, to be divided by NRR.

Were England to win both remaining matches they would fail to qualify only if New Zealand lost to West Indies and West Indies lost Sri Lanka. Three teams – Sri Lanka, West Indies and England – would then be level on four points and be split by NRR.

England in 2012

P W L D/NR

Tests 11 3 6 2

ODI 15 12 2 1

Twenty20 10 5 4 1

Total 36 20 10 4

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing