And it was just over a year ago that we had this kind of hype.
Maybe not quite the same; this is T20 cricket, it is not being played at home, and the time zone issue is dreadful.
However, T20 cricket is not a lottery as some have suggested. It is more like, say, Monopoly, Risk or Backgammon, compared to test cricket’s chess. Luck is a factor, but the best players will always win more than they lose.
In New Zealand’s Favour
Confidence. Confidence in selection, playing style and results.
The three-pronged spin attack has been something not the boldest backgammon player would have picked. Before the tournament McCullum senior seemed past it, Santner was unproven and a finger spinner and Sodhi had regulation pies in his repertoire.
Helpful conditions have aided things, but they have all bowled magnificently. Remember some decent batsmen (Smith, Kohli) have gone out of their way to attack them too.
Colin Munro has publicly stated he’s put away the ego when it comes to batting. This was easily his biggest weakness; this is progress.
Grant Elliott likes a good semi-final and he has had a huge impact in this tournament so far; even if it has been mainly with the ball.
The other surprising revelation has been Mitchell McClenaghan. This has been some comeback from the eye surgery at the Basin. Remember when there was all that debate about Matt Henry not being the fourth seamer in this squad. What a wonderful diversion that was.
In England’s Favour
Christchurch’s Ben Stokes. Let’s get that one out of the way early.
He, Root and Buttler all have Strike Rates over 150. Their strength is in their batting. Roy and Morgan are not that bad either.
“We are used to playing in Delhi; it is our home”. That comment is straight out of the days of the Raj, and the globe painted pink, but they have a point.
If you discount the unique and sad West Indies situation, they are the side here with the most dedicated T20 side. They invented the game, have thought it through, and have specialists.
They have also chased a total at this tournament.
If it is a high scoring game then England should be favourites. If it’s another turner, and they are what have made this tournament interesting, then you would back that spin trio. And Elliott.