The story of the T20 World Cup
Eoin Morgan celebrates with Shane Watson looking on and looking far from impressed
The Indians have learned a costly lesson, having the best domestic Twenty20 league has not benefited their national team – yet.
Frank Gregan looks back at England's first-ever success in an international tournament, including telling us who could be looking for a job in the local pie shop and who was described by his skipper as an "absolute freak."
It was a historic tournament, one that gave England their first World Cup trophy. The manner of the victory couldn't have been any sweeter - a good old fashioned walloping of the old foe - Australia. The post match interviews were a joy to watch and a classic example of the highs and lows of captaincy.
Paul Collingwood looked happier than the weekend's EuroMillions winner, his elation was infectious and he glowed as he handled the media. Michael Clarke was gutted and despite his best efforts, he failed to emulate Ricky Ponting and be magnanimous in defeat. His compliments to England were delivered through gritted teeth as he struggled not to retch, conceding that his team were outplayed on the day.
Australia did well to reach the final having looked dead and buried in the semis against Pakistan. It was the 'Michael Hussey show,' one of the finest innings ever seen in the shortest format of the game and one worthy of praise from his skipper. There were many superlatives that Clarke could have called upon to describe his team-mate but after much deliberation and thumbing through his thesaurus he settled on calling Hussey "an absolute freak." Yep, that just about hits the spot Michael, that's the kind of leadership the rest of the world wants to see from the Aussie leader!
Hussey's innings was brilliant but if you watched the last over closely, during which Australia needed 18 runs to win you would have witnessed some strange variation from the Pakistani spinner Saeed Ajmal. The first delivery was almost a yorker fired in at over 70 mph which Mitchell Johnson managed to edge and scamper through for a single to get Hussey back on strike - 17 now needed from five balls.
Ajmal than produced four deliveries of different styles that can best be described as steak and kidney, mince and onion, meat and potato and chicken and mushroom. He gave a whole new meaning to the term 'pie chucker' and Hussey helped himself to three sixes and a four to get the Aussies into the final with a ball to spare. It's a game that will come back to haunt Pakistan (and Ajmal) for a long time. Whether it was complacency, arrogance, over-confidence, pressure, ineptitude or the pie chucking that cost them the game is of no consequence. The bottom line is that they threw away a place in a World Cup final and that wound will take a long time to heal.
There'll be a lot of soul searching going on around the world as the other members of the 'Big Eight' try and work out where they went wrong. South Africa, India and the West Indies all had very poor tournaments and failed to quench their supporter's thirst for glory. This was a high profile event in which those three teams massively under-performed and the stick that is flying around from the headline writers and talking heads should be taken with grace.
Someone should tell that to the South African skipper Graeme Smith who doesn't seem to be handling the heat too well, moaning about the criticism coming his way: "At least we own up to playing poorly, but as regards all those so called experts/ex players, I'm not sure I see a winner's medal hanging around their necks." Don't fight it Graeme, sometimes you just have to admit your team were sh.... err... short of quality!
The Indians have learned a costly lesson, having the best domestic Twenty20 league has not benefited their national team - yet. As for the Windies - they were simply dire. Their mega talented squad once again showed the spine of an arthritic jellyfish!
The tournament belonged to England but there's little time to savour the moment, they only have a ten day break before they are back in action, this time in a Test Series on home soil. Bangladesh are in town and if you get in quick a match in the region of [1.44] might just be achievable on a 2-0 England win.