Yeah, that’s a bit of a statement after 50 overs of batting and 50 overs of bowling, isn’t it?
And, of course, I am writing this ahead of England‘s second World Cup match on Monday. They play Pakistan and we won’t have any problems there, will we? After all, everyone beats Pakistan at the moment.
England got the Cricket World Cup 2019 underway on Thursday. Prince Harry made a lovely speech, songs were sung, excitement levels were high and all that was left was for England to win the toss and quickly chase down 200, right?
Yeah, about that.
Those pesky South Africans had different ideas, winning the toss and asking England to have a bat.
Not that there was anything to worry about, you understand. In Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, England have the most fierce of fierce opening partnerships in the ODI game. Since the 2015 World Cup (which we’ve removed from our collective memory banks), nobody has a better strike rate than Bairstow. Nobody!
Well, nobody until he nicked off second ball of the tournament.
You see, South Africa had a cunning plan. England love to batter the quicks all over the ground in that opening powerplay so they started with their spinner. And he struck. And Bairstow headed back to the pavilion looking grumpier than normal.
Were we about to see England’s campaign go crashing into the central reservation at the very first chance?
Not on your cricketing nelly. You see, if one bat fails there’s one or two (OK, eight) more to come. Joe Root and Jason Roy steadied the ship. Then skipper Eion Morgan was in with Ben Stokes. And suddenly, without any real fireworks going off, England had set the Saffas over 300 to win.
And then there was Jofra.
You see, every really successful cricket team needs that truly x-factor bowler. The West Indians had loads of them. Pakistan could choose between Wasim and Waqar. Australia had McGrath and that guy called Shane Warne.
Folks, England now have Jofra Archer.
Don’t get me wrong, the England bowling attack was none-too-shabby before Andrew Strauss decided to change the rules meaning Archer would be allowed to play for England in record quick time.
But this guy has something extra. And that extra appears to be about another 20kph when gliding up to the crease and turning his arm over.
Archer is quick.
Just ask Hashim Amla, a batsman who certainly knows one end from the other. Archer bounced one straight into Amla’s grill forcing the South African to retire hurt – fortunately he returned to bat later. The ball was so sharp that Amla had barely started his belated attempt to pull it before it rattled his helmet.
Already Morgan is looking at Archer when he feels England need something.
And Archer appears to be loving it.
England beat South Africa by 100 odd runs and barely looked troubled from the moment Bairstow got out to the moment the final South African wicket fell.
We didn’t play well. We didn’t seem to need to. We’ve got Jofra to paper over the rare cracks that might appear.
After the match I had a quick look at some betting odds.
Don’t forget, England might well win this tournament. And then they might just win the Ashes.
If they do, there’s every chance one of the team will be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
And you know what? Jofra Archer has a personality and is currently 33/1.
Now, that’s got to be worth a punt, no?
The only real competition I can see is if the England Women’s football team wins the Women’s World Cup in France (if so, lump on Fran Kirby as she is at least 50/1 in most places that haven’t even considered that she might be in the running) or Konta winning the French and Wimbledon. None of these are shoo-ins but of all of them? England to win the cricketing grand slam and to be led by their new fast bowling sensation.
You heard it here first.