On Friday 13th March, England exited the 2015 cricket World Cup in Australia, winning only two of their six group games and failing to get past the group stage. On Saturday, at Chester-Le-Street, home of Durham County Cricket Club, England stormed to victory against New Zealand in the latest ODI series, and in doing so, completed a 3-2 series victory over the Black Caps, who were runners-up in the World Cup.
England's victory over the Kiwis was memorable for many reasons, but the most obvious reason, was the complete transformation in England's approach to the 50 over game. No more are we fiddling and prodding the ball around while batting and expecting a score of 250 to be good enough to win a game.
We are now much more aggressive and attacking from the outset. Eoin Morgan, England's captain said they will always attack and not take a backward step and he and his team have been true to his words throughout the series against the Kiwis. In the five-match series, there have been a total of 3151 runs scored off 440.3 overs at a run rate throughout the series of 7.15 runs per over.
Article continues below
England have scored over 300 runs in four successive matches, something they have never done before, and in one of those innings they actually scored over 400 runs. In the final game of the series at Durham, neither the English summer rain, nor the Duckworth-Lewis system could deprive England of the victory they so desperately wanted in the hunt for a series win.
England won the toss and put New Zealand in on a reasonable batting track and must have been happy to keep New Zealand to a total of only 283, which was not in keeping with the scores in the previous four games. However during the interval between innings the heavens opened and the ensuing delay meant that England would have to chase a revised target of 192 off only 26 overs at a rate of 7.4 an over.
A tough ask, but certainly not an imposing one. True to their word England were aggressive but after only eight overs they found themselves looking down the barrel of a humiliating defeat. They were 45-5 and their top five batsmen contributed just 34 runs to their total.
This meant England had just 18 overs to score 147 runs to win the game and only two recognised batsmen left at the crease, with four bowlers to follow. England still kept attacking and aided by a couple of dropped catches from the Kiwis, and a tremendous innings of 83 not out off just 60 balls by Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow, ably supported by young Sam Billings from Kent who scored 41 off just 30 deliveries England reached their target with one over to spare.
A tremendous end to an enthralling series played in Great Spirit by both teams, and a wonderful advert for the game of cricket. In truth, it is possibly the best ever, five-match odi series played anywhere in the world in the history of the game, and it is a pleasure to say that England were involved in it.
Let's hope that this reborn England team keep playing in this manner and can add consistency to their undoubted talent, and they just might climb to the top of the cricketing tree. After all we have never won the cricket world cup, and it would be nice to think, that this current squad has the ability to carry us forward on the road to the next World Cup.
They are a young squad and therefore they should be kept together as a unit and yes there will be some poor performances over the next few years, but that is all part of the learning curve, and we must accept that they will make mistakes, after all, that is the only way you learn.