England v New Zealand World T20 Betting: Collingwood experience could be the key

Keeping the mood right - Paul Collingwood at work with England
Keeping the mood right - Paul Collingwood at work with England

After Saturday's thrilling win over holders Sri Lanka, England face a daunting semi-final - but Ralph Ellis says the brain of a World Cup winner could be crucial...


"England's batting line-up goes deep, and contains in Joe Root and Jos Buttler players who are genuine match winners. Root is 4.3100/30 to be England’s top run scorer against the Kiwis, with Buttler outstanding value at 6.25/1."

He is there under the title of "batting consultant". Unless you search his name hard, though, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that Paul Collingwood is in India at all.

All the interviews are being given by England's players; all the credit for the new attacking mindset which has helped propel the side to the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 Championship is being given to coach Trevor Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace.

But here and there are clues that behind the scenes Collingwood, the only England cricket captain to have won a World Cup in 23 attempts, is having a significant influence.

And when it comes to tomorrow's semi-final against New Zealand it might just be that having a man who lifted the trophy as recently as 2009 in their ranks will be a critical factor in Eoin Morgan's side upsetting the odds.

England are rated the 2.1211/10 outsiders to win the match and so progress to a final against either India or West Indies, but there are signs to justify backing them. Most of them seem to stem from Collingwood's experience of how to get the right mindset in the team in a tournament.

Ben Stokes reveals today that when the campaign began with a morale crippling defeat by the West Indies, it was Collingwood who put a positive spin on it. "Colly told us it was a good omen because it happened in the first game in 2009," he said.

You can be sure that few of the players bothered to check that the circumstances were so different. Back then Messrs Duckworth and Lewis were more important as rain interrupted the game after only five overs of the second innings had been bowled. This time England got royally stuffed by Chris Gayle slamming 11 sixes on the way to a 48-ball century.

No matter. Collingwood had the brains to take away the doubts brought by being hammered to all parts of the ground by Gayle's brilliance, and replace them with belief that another triumph was written in the stars.

There's little doubt England have the talent for this form of the game. The batting line-up goes deep, and contains in Joe Root and Jos Buttler players who are genuine match winners. Root is 4.3100/30 to be England's top run scorer against the Kiwis, with Buttler outstanding value at 6.25/1.

The big question remains the bowling, but even there you can see signs of progress. Their four seamers have been effective in Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and Stokes has emerged as a brilliant death bowler, limiting the dangerous Angelo Matthews to just four runs in the final over to knock out reigning champions Sri Lanka.

Collingwood, meanwhile, has been making soothing noises to the spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali who were brutally thrashed around the park. It will be better next time.

I still believe India deserve their status as 2.3411/8 favourites to win the tournament, but England are the side who are improving and could just be worth a punt at their current price of 4.94/1.

In all sports we have never really used the experience of our handful of World Cup winners. The great Bobby Moore was marginalised, while Martin Johnson was put in the top job for the rugby team too soon, and then never given the chance to show he could learn from his mistakes.

Whisper it softly, but Collingwood's role in the current England cricket set up might be turning out to be the example of how to do it properly. Even if he is only called the "batting consultant".


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