Wednesday, September 12, 2007

An ominous start? Or a flash in the pan?

ICC World Twenty20: Game 1: South Africa versus West Indies. First ball: Shaun Pollock to Chris Gayle. Slapped through point for four. Pollock finishes with figures of 1 for 52 off four overs. Gayle scores 117 off 57 balls. Pollock’s team wins comfortably, chasing down a target of 206 off 20 overs with more than two overs to spare.

So, are the pre-tournament predictions coming true? Does Twenty20 herald the death of the bowler? Or is this match an aberration?

I reckon the latter. I think that the two teams just fell for the pre-match build-up on how Twenty20 is a batsman’s game, and so just didn’t try anything on the bowling front. Sure, the batsmen batted as if they didn’t care about their wickets. Unfortunately, so did the bowlers bowl. I watched almost all of the West Indian innings and five overs of the South African chase. And I don’t recall seeing a single wicket-taking delivery, including the ones that got the wickets. It was all about the batsmen – they made the runs, they got themselves out. Of course, the West Indies bowlers contributed – with 23 wides.

I suppose it will take some time for players (more so the bowlers, it appears) and teams to come to terms with this new version of the game. And for us spectators to settle into a watching rhythm. To be honest, I was bored to tears with yesterday’s game, notwithstanding (or because of?) Gayle’s non-stop six-hitting. But New Zealand’s bowling today is encouraging, though it has come against the minnows Kenya. There is hope yet.

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