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Turning ball ends all hopes of England’s T20 group qualification

| 17.03.2014

As the T20 World Cup got underway with host nation Bangladesh thumping a frantically pumped up Afghanistan outfit, the England squad were making their way to the tournament following an unsuccessful tour of the West Indies.

Should they have landed plush enough flights to be able to watch the tournament’s opener, or any of the subsequent games for that matter, then it wouldn’t have filled Ashley Giles’ men with hope, as spin was a dominant factor.

The opening round of the competition splits the eight minnow nations into two qualifying groups, with the winner of each joining the Test playing nations in the second round, and even in these early stages the tweakers have reigned supreme.

In a tournament that’s only a few days old, the spinners of Bangladesh, Nepal (who cruised to victory over Hong Kong) and Ireland have all been the most dangerous bowlers in their respective innings’ and as more matches are played the pitches will only become more receptive to the turning ball.

England’s known weakness against slow bowling never made them one of the favourites for the tournament, at 12/1 to win the trophy they lifted in 2010, and it will be their downfall in this year’s tournament.

In a group containing Sri Lanka, South Africa and New Zealand (along with the one aforementioned qualifier) England will face a struggle to overcome three of the more respected T20 nations.

That’s why Stuart Broad’s side are 2/5 to exit the tournament at the group stage, as Sri Lanka are the highest ranked T20 side in the world with one of the most mysterious spinners in the game, Ajantha Mendis, at their disposal.

While South Africa and New Zealand don’t have a spinner of Mendis’ quality among their number, the fact that the slow bowling of the various minnows has turned so much only spells bad news for England’s chances.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.