World T20 Super Tens: Five talking points
Five games have been completed in the Super Tens stage of the ICC World T20. There were quite a few familiar sights over the weekend, ranging from Stuart Broad getting himself into trouble and South Africa stuffing up a chase under the pressure. ANTOINETTE MULLER picks five talking points from the weekend.
The Super Tens stage of the ICC World T20 is in full swing and while it might have gotten off to a damp squib with Pakistan and India playing a very one-sided match, the ante has been upped since then.
South Africa showed up in their familiar “we don’t know why the hell we’re panicking” outfits, Stuart Broad got into trouble, Australia got hammered and the West Indies looked like they don’t care. New Zealand lead Group 1 with two points and superior net-run rate to Sri Lanka and India are to of Group 2 with four points after two wins out of two.
With a full weekend’s matches to catch up on, here are five talking points from some of the first Super Tens games from the weekend.
Imran Tahir’s effectiveness
Imran Tahir took three wickets for 26 in South Africa's opening game. Those who watched him in Tests recently might be surprised by his exploits, but when it comes to crunching the T20 numbers, Tahir is one of the most effective players going. Although he does concede some runs in the shortest format of the game, before the tournament started, Tahir was taking a wicket with every 16 balls in T20s. That's now dipped even further to every 14.5 balls. He’s by no means a “mystery” spinner, but he is a very effective leggie who is hard to pick, especially when batsmen only get to see him in short spells. Don’t be surprised if Tahir ends up being South Africa’s top wicket-taker of the tournament.
South Africa’s distinctly familiar crumble under pressure
South Africa were going along steadily in their opening clash against Sri Lanka. With a total of over 160 to chase, it was never going to be easy, but the Proteas looked to have it figured out. JP Duminy had made a start after Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla pottered bout at the top of the order. Then, as a few more wickets started falling, their brains started fading. South Africa needed 46 off 24 when Albie Morkel came to the crease and, for two balls, he did what he is in the side to do: bash the ball. Morkel opened his account with two consecutive sixes before Chandimal moved himself to long on, knowing that it could happen again. Ajantha Mendis bowled a poor ball, Morkel went after it and it straight to the fielder who had moved himself into position. Just like that South Africa returned to the familiar “we don’t know what the hell we are doing” approach. Silly running between the wickets in the last two overs saw them lose by five runs in a game they really could have won.
The harshness of D/L in T20s
England lost their opening match against New Zealand via the Duckworth-Lewis method, but it was all a bit harsh. After a slow start, England managed to post 172 in 20 overs. With rain looming and thunder clapping, New Zealand knew they had to get shifty on and they did. In 5.2 overs, they whacked 52, putting them ahead on D/L. The rain came down and that was that, the Black Caps had won. Stuart Broad, of course, found reason to complain and you can’t really blame him. Leaving 22 men out in the middle of a massive field with a lightning storm raging right next to it isn’t exactly conducive to safety. On top of that, to have a game decided within five overs is silly. Perhaps it’s time to start calling rain-hit T20s a tie or, since technology is advanced in terms of forecasting weather –reduce the match before it needs to be reduced. Ground staff and officials would have been well aware that heavy rain was due. Why not just cut the game shorter right from the start? Nobody wants a five-over-shoot out, but if it avoids annoying and unfair results such as this, why not use logic to counter it?
Full tosses aren’t going to get you anywhere, duh
The real Pakistan showed up for their second Super Tens match where they beat Australia by 16 runs. Pakistan posted a massive 191 thanks to a blistering 94 off 54 from Umar Akmal. Much of the batting was thanks to Australia seemingly deciding that full tosses are the way to go in T20 cricket. Australia's chase see-sawed thanks to Aaron Finch and the Million Dollar Baby, Glenn Maxwell, opening arms. Finch hit 65 off 54 while Maxwell smacked a quickfire 74 off 33. It looked like the Aussies were cruising, but Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul made magic happen and Australia lost five wickets for 20 runs.
India's bowling and the Windies apathy
For the most part of their batting innings, the West Indies looked like they would rather be on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. As a result, they took a generally average approach to their innings against India and managed an average 129 in 20 overs. Even dropped catches couldn't inspire the side to pull their finger out their backsides. So despondent were the West Indies that they could hardly be bothered with rotating the strike – they managed just 35 singles in total. India's bowling played big part in all of that, of course, but the Windies put far too much pressure on themselves. Amit Mishra was a delightful bundle of leg spinning joy and Ravi Jadeja cashing in on the Windies' apathy. Mishra reiterated what Tahir had already made clear when playing for South Africa – the legspinners are the most important part of teams for this tournament. His ball to dismiss Dwayne Bravo was superb – a fuller, flatter googly completely bamboozled the batsman and after a similarly productive outing against Pakistan, Mishra is invaluable. DM
Photo: West Indies' wicketkeeper Andre Fletcher (C) and captain Darren Sammy (R) appeal for India's Shikhar Dhawan's dismissal successfully during their match of ICC Twenty20 World Cup at the Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka March 23, 2014. (REUTERS/Andrew Biraj)