England 'not far off Australia' - Collingwood

Australia may have been the team to beat at the WT20 but Paul Collingwood is confident his side can stay with them should their old rivals reach the final.

updated: May 14, 2010 09:07 IST
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Gros Islet, St. Lucia:

Australia may have been the team to beat at the World Twenty20 but England captain Paul Collingwood is confident his side can stay with them should their old rivals reach the final.

England swept into Sunday's tournament finale at the Kensington Oval in Barbados with a dominating seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka, last year's losing finalists, at the Beausejour Stadium here on Thursday.

They now await the winners of Friday's second semi-final, between Australia and defending champions Pakistan.

Australia, with pace bowlers Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson leading the way and with a deep batting line-up, are unbeaten at the tournament so far.

The Kensington pitch, quicker in pace than the one at Beausejour, should suit Australia's fast men.

But the England seamers, who reduced Sri Lanka to 26 for three inside five overs, will relish the extra bounce too.

Asked if England were playing a similar brand of cricket to Australia, Collingwood replied: "We are not far off, they are a very powerful side themselves and obviously have a lot of pace in their attack.

"It's going to be a proper head to head that one on Sunday -- if we were to play Australia.

"I think everybody on the outside would want to see an England-Australia game but you've got to be careful. "Pakistan are still a very dangerous side, you've got to show them a lot of respect. They are the world champions so no matter who we come up against we are going to have to continue to play the way we have played and hopefully that will be good enough.

"We are just happy to be in the final but we haven't won anything yet and I am going to keep drilling that into the guys."

Turning to the Kensington pitch, Collingwood added: "We probably put in our best performance of the tournament in against South Africa in Barbados (a 39-run win) and we played four games there, two warm-up games and two in the competition.

"I think the batters do like the ball coming on and obviously the bowlers do like the pace coming through but again we are going to have to look at who we play against."

England have never won a major one-day international trophy -- Sunday's match will be their first final since they lost in the 2004 Champions Trophy to the West Indies at the Oval - and in Twenty20 in particular they have struggled to find a reliable opening partnership.

But it seems it may be a case of 17th time lucky - the number of opening pairs they've used in Twenty20 - in Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb.

The duo's selection was not without controversy.

Both men were born and raised in South Africa, with Kieswetter a former South Africa Under-19 international although Lumb's father, Richard, opened the batting for Yorkshire alongside England great Geoffrey Boycott.

However, there is no denying their worth to the side which was proved again on Thursday by a rapid stand of 68 in just more than eight overs which ended any lingering hopes Sri Lanka had of victory.

Neither man had played a Twenty20 international before this tournament but Collingwood said: "Sometimes they are the finishing pieces of a jigsaw.

"We had some very good players but this is what we needed, a spark at the top of the order.

"Everybody saw it as a bit of a gamble, but we selected them on potential and we knew exactly what they could do.

"They've batted fantastically well and really helped the middle order to overcome totals."