Ryan Sidebottom has recalled the moment he joined team-mate Graeme Swann for a brief chat in the Kensington Oval toilets to settle his nerves during England’s run-chase in the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 final.
Paul Collingwood’s side were cruising to victory in their pursuit of 148 to beat Australia and end a 35-year wait for an ICC limited-overs trophy following a 111-run stand between Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen.
But the dismissals of Pietersen and Kieswetter, for 47 and 63 in the 14th and 15th overs respectively, gave Australia hope of setting up a nervy finish with 27 runs still required.
It was at that point Sidebottom slipped off to the gents, where Swann was already based, in a bid to ease the tension.
The pair, then both Nottinghamshire players, remained in conversation for a 10-minute period before returning to the dressing room to witness Eoin Morgan and Collingwood steer England to world glory.
“I think we needed 20-odd and lost a couple. Kieswetter got 60 and batted brilliantly and KP was batting like a dream, but we lost a couple of wickets,” the Yorkshireman told ecb.co.uk.
“We only needed 20-odd off a large number of balls and I remember Swanny was in the toilets. I went to the toilet, I must admit I was sweating cobs, and we were just having a bit of a chat. We couldn’t watch.
“We stood in the toilets having a bit of a natter for 10 minutes. You could tell that we were scoring runs from the roars. We needed 10 to win so we went and sat down. From then on we knew we were going to win.
“At the end you saw the scenes of jubilation, the lads going mental and not knowing who to run to. To beat the old enemy in the final was something special and, to quote a cliché, what dreams are made of.
“To win a trophy like that, it is etched in history and something that I have been part of and gained fond memories from. You can imagine the celebrations after, I think it was harbour lights. Needless to say I had a pretty sore head for the next couple of days!”
It wasn’t just during England’s pursuit that the nerves got the better of Sidebottom, though, he also felt the butterflies circling on the eve and before the start of the final.
But Sidebottom showed no signs of buckling on the big occasion as he took two early wickets to reduce Australia to eight for three in the third over.
“The night before I didn’t get much sleep, as most of the guys didn’t, but the support from the Barmy Army got right behind us,” Sidebottom said.
“There was probably 15,000 in the ground. It was amazing. We went out round the ground for a warm-up to take in the atmosphere and do it a little bit differently.
“We were stretching on the boundary boards and there were quite a number of Aussies in front of us giving us serious stick! I think the lads were more determined from that.
“People were thinking we were the underdogs, Australia are going to win again and we were going to fall at the final hurdle, but that made us more determined.
“Once the national anthem was sung, the hairs were standing up on the neck, and when I was bowling the first over the butterflies were always there.
“But I was pretty confident, I just wanted to deliver that first ball on the spot. To take those two early wickets meant a great deal. You need a bit of luck and it got us off to a great start. To contribute meant a lot in that team.”
“We had a quintet of bowlers, three seamers that were all very different and Swanny and Michael Yardy, who bowled brilliantly in that middle period,” Sidebottom explained.
“As a bowling unit, everyone contributed. We all performed very well as a unit and there wasn’t one bowler who stood out, especially in T20s when you need two or three bowlers to bowl pretty well to keep the score down and take wickets.
“We prepared better than most other teams, with the slower-ball bouncers, slower balls, using the boundaries and wind to our effect. We had everything nailed, all those little one-percenters in those nail-biting situations.
“We didn’t get into any sticky situations, we just hammered everyone. You don’t normally get that in a tournament, but it showed how well we actually played as a team.”
England did not have it all their own way during their successful campaign but managed to sneak into the Super Eights following two rain-affected group matches, a defeat to West Indies and no-result with Ireland.
They then brushed aside Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Australia in stunning fashion.
“We never looked back in that tournament,” Sidebottom said. “We had a bit of a scare in the early rounds with Ireland and West Indies, but we actually played pretty well.
“It was just the weather and Duckworth-Lewis did not really help us. Once we got over that, we were quite confident we could do something special. We just grew and grew.
“We knew we would do something special, it was all positive talk. Everyone believed we could do well in the tournament from the word go.”
The confidence and belief Sidebottom references was injected by skipper Collingwood, who had furthered his Twenty20 experience with a beneficial spell at the Indian Premier League.
“In 2010 no-one gave us a chance,” Sidebottom added. “With Paul Collingwood at the helm, he witnessed and had played at the IPL prior to that, and he learnt how they went about playing T20 cricket.
“How they used left-armers in the side and had very balanced teams, it certainly rubbed off on us.
“The way Colly spoke to the boys, he wanted us to go out there and play that positive brand of cricket with no fear of failure. It is easy saying it but have got to go out and do it.
“It was his positive manner that had a calming effect on the team. We had a very balanced side.
“I remember fondly Colly saying to (Michael) Lumby and Craig Kieswetter that he wanted them to go out there in the first six overs and score as many as you can, don’t worry about getting out.
“It is amazing when you say something like that how many times you will actually score decent runs. They got us off to flyers and then KP came in and he was the man of the tournament.
“You need that nice team environment, everyone was relaxed and got on. We were good players, we were good enough, and he just installed that into us. He said you are good enough and knew we were a team that can challenge and win that trophy.
“It wasn’t like we were turning up and thinking that we would not win a game. The confidence just went through the team. We really believed we could go on and win it and do something special that had not been done before.”