|Player:||PD Collingwood, LJ Wright|
|Event:||ICC World Twenty20 2009|
DateLine: 11th June 2009
England T20 skipper Paul Collingwood paid rich tributes to the key role played by opener Luke Wright in England's progress into the second round. Skipper said he is impressed with the manner in which the Sussex all-rounder has to the top ranks in the last couple of years.
Wright was overlooked for the 50-over format last summer but the right-hander worked on his game and such has been his progress that he won the man-of-the-match awards in both of England's group games.
First he hit 71 off 49 balls in the team's dismal defeat to Holland and then the hard-hitting opener followed that by hitting 34 off 16 balls against Pakistan. He also took a wicket giving away 24 runs from his three overs.
"He's really grabbed the chance with both hands," said Collingwood. "I think the other night was a real tester for him because Ravi's been the solid bloke at the top and to lose him early was a great example of how he still goes for it.
"That's his job at the top but it also shows how much he's come on as well over the last couple of years.
"By his own admission he probably wasn't as steady at the crease. He had all the shots but he just seems a lot more composed at the crease now and he's getting us off to great start and hitting the ball bloody hard."
Wright and Bopara at the top of the order have been one of the key things in the success of England over the last few months. They are now hoping that the opening duo once again fire on all cylinders in Thursday night’s opening match of the Super Eights stage against South Africa at Trent Bridge.
England once again will attempt to put fancied South Africa under pressure with an aggressive start to their innings - as they did against Pakistan - and upset one of the fancied teams for the tournament.
"I think you've got to use these first six overs of fielding restrictions," explained Collingwood. "You've got to get at least 40 to 45 runs but you obviously don't want to lose three or four wickets in those overs either and I think we've got the guys at the top who are doing a good job.
"So far South Africa have been the strongest team, but I think this is where the real test begins. Coming up against good sides, you'll find out where the weakest links are and where the strengths are.
"They are playing against the strongest teams and this is where it really starts and you'll be able to judge which the best teams are. Even if you are the best team, the experience of IPL and the last Twenty20 World Cup will tell you it doesn't mean you're going to win the game - it only takes one or two individuals to get in and anyone is beatable."
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