A Good Start: World 20/20

1 05 2010

The World 20/20 got under way with a bang last night, New Zealand beating Sri Lanka off the penultimate ball of their game in a fine advert for the shortest version of the game. Later on in the evening, West Indies demolished Ireland by 70 runs in what was a reassuring win for them. Some thoughts:

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New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
NZ win by 2 wickets (with one ball remaining).

Jesse Ryder: Despite being more rotund than Mike Gatting, Colin Cowdrey, Mark Taylor and Inzaman put together, he appears to be seriously talented. Light on his feet for a big man, and with some serious timing on show, Ryder made the game look an easy. Lets hope his renowned temperament issues don’t surface as he looked the best batsman by quite some distance for the Kiwis.

Mahela Jayawardene: Having been looking forward to Dilshan batting in the lead up to the game, we were heavily disappointed with his leaden performance. Jayawardene though, provided the balm for this, with an innings of rare grace and not inconsiderable power. Quite simply he is an artist with the bat and when he bats like this, there is no one else we can think of who comes close from an aesthetic point of view.

Nathan McCullum: We weren’t expecting to be writing about the other McCullum as from everything we have seen of him prior to this he appeared to be a very limited cricketer, albeit effective in that curiously Kiwi way. Yesterday however he bowled 3 tight overs for 1 wicket (despite David Lloyd calling him an average club bowler and ‘nothing special’ on air), took three catches and then when all seemed lost smashed the winning runs. Well played sir.

Ross Taylor: What a catch! One of the best we’ve seen and it was instances like this that probably ultimately made the difference for the Black Caps.

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West Indies vs Ireland
WI won by 70 runs

Darren Sammy: It was all looking a little tight and Ireland clearly fancied themselves when Sammy came to the crease. In a fine exhibition of hitting (so good that initially we thought Kieron Pollard had come in), he ensured they had a more than competitive total. Sammy then took an astonishing 3-8 off 3.4 overs thereby ensuring that the match award could only be destined for one man. It must be said that we have never particularly warmed to him prior to this game. The Compulsive Hooker had always had him down as a Kiwi style bits and pieces cricketer, but without their antipodean grit. Its only one match, but if he continues like this we will gladly promote him in our affections. 

George Dockrell: Only 17, and despite apparently doing his best to resemble a badger, George Dockrell showed there is some talent coming through the Irish junior ranks. Taking 3-16 off his 4 overs, Dockrell was mainly responsible for the momentary panic that ran through the West Indian ranks in the middle overs. He was undoubtedly assisted by a very slow Guyana pitch, but the maturity of his bowling and his willingness to give the ball air, should be applauded.

Kieron Pollard: There appears to be a worldwide conspiracy to delay Pollard’s entrance to the middle by promoting inferior players above him. Pollard has consistently shown what he is capable of in this format over the past 12 months, but unfortunately his success in the last 5 over hitting role has meant that he is now pigeon holed as someone who can’t bat for any length of time. This myth has probably been perpetuated by the fact that he rarely scores more than 30 or 40 with failures in every other innings. Yet, this is, of course, a symptom of when (and therefore the way) he is being asked to bat, rather than a true reflection of his ability. If we were Otis Gibson we would put him in around 5 or 6 in the batting order, as 10 overs of Pollard would win most games. It seems there is a lack of trust in him which is holding his development back. In our opinion, if you don’t offer someone more responsibility it can be difficult for them to truly blossom.

Irish Players: Appear to by trying to make up for a lack of talent, with a level of noise and chat on the pitch that would drown out your average Guns & Roses concert. The keeper Niall O’Brien appears to be particularly culpable. Whilst we appreciate the (theoretical) reasons why this modern tradition of inane banter/sledging/encouragement is embarked upon, and despite being usually willing to support the under dogs, this noise made it very difficult not to get thoroughly irritated with the Irish players. A bit of encouragement is fine, but what the Irish resembled was your average club side who happen to have an ultra keen, but sadly misguided captain attempting to inflict what is seen to be ‘professional’ behaviour on his team.

William Porterfield: We felt sorry for Ian Bishop when he was interviewing the Irish skipper prior to the games start. To our eyes Porterfield resembled a small yappy dog nipping at the great mans heels (or in this case questions). Rarely do we dislike cricketers on first view – yet Porterfield has achieved this small distinction. Bishop himself looked faintly bemused by the words tumbling out of his interviewee’s mouth.

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Afghanistan meet India later with Bangladesh due to play Pakistan after that. We hope for; an upset (preferably by Afghanistan), 2 close games and an atmosphere at the ground similar to the ones last night. Its been a good start to the tournament – lets hope it continues.

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