Monday, September 24, 2012

ICC WT20 2012 - 1st Round Review


One sided matches, poor turnout, weather shortening the bigger clashes, too many mismatches to open the tournament in the first 6 games, inconsequential dead rubbers & some deliberation of the actual name of the tournament amongst fans. The first round of the WT20s has been a case of completing the formalities. It’s been dull and failed to catch the imagination of the cricket loving public. Tournament will only enter serious mode when the super eights get under way on Thursday.

5 best performances in first round
Ajantha Mendis 6-8 = Phenomenal figures from the mysterious genius as the Zimbabweans were clueless in handling his mixture of off spinners, leg spinners, googlies, straighter ones. It was the best figures we have seen in WT20s and both 6 wicket hauls in this format have belonged to him, the only one to do so. Mystery bowlers tend to be tougher to face with scoreboard pressure, making him a handful in Twenty20s. I have always been a fan of him and could not stand Sri Lanka’s refusal to play him against sub continental sides during the previous World Cup.
Brendon McCullum 123 from 58 – The strike rate is incredible. McCullum is no stronger to lighting up tournaments in the first game he plays as many would remember his 158 for KKR in the first ever IPL game during the 2008 season. To score a century in such a short time span requires skill. His bat speed which enables him to get his hands through the ball is the key.

Watson vs. Australia – Strong all round contributions from the man Glen McGrath has tipped to inspire Australia to glory in the championship. Power and explosiveness when batting, but very smart in changing his pace, length and attacking the stumps when bowling. He was man-of-the-match in both these early wins for Australia going into the super eights.

Singh 4-14 - England sub continental woes about spin continued, they certainly will need to have a good long think about their game plan if they are to stand any chance in the tour of India coming up, but take nothing away from the turbanator who was under personal pressure with his place in the side, however has managed to silence his critics and give the coach and captain a selection dilemma or two. His county stint with Essex seems to have done him good. It’s fair to say a large percentage of Indian fans weren’t best pleased about his place in the 15 man squad for this competition.

Jamshed’s half century vs. New Zealand – In his first World T20 match, the man who made his Twenty20 debut just this month continued the promising form he had shown in one day internationals this year to score a half century at a timely clip. His innings clearly impressed Ian Chappel and the former Australian captain isn’t one who is easily impressed. Jamshed scored quickly without slogging, playing proper cricketing shots and made full use of the surface, boundary dimensions and platform Nazir and Hafeez’s opening partnership had provided to reach his first half century in this form of the game. The left hander was also active in the field with 3 dismissals through outfield catches and run outs.

Losers and Winners

Zimbabwe – They were hopelessly bad, got 2 thrashings and only 4 games and 3 days into the competition were eliminated and the first side to be on their way home. Even their fielding which has been one of their stronger facets over the years was way below par. Alan Butcher and Brendon Taylor have a lot to ponder.
South Africa – Meanwhile their African counterparts were the stand out team in my view, winning by 10 wickets against them and a 32 run margin win against Sri Lanka in a 7 over game is a sizeable one. No surprise to see them performing in the league stages, but all eyes will be on them when it’s a do or die situation.

Watson and Porterfield

Hard to find players who had a more contrasting 2 games. Watson won the player of the match in both whereas Ireland's captain was dismissed for 2 golden ducks. Watson took the wicket on the first one of those 1st ball ducks.

West Indies progressed without winning a single match. When England won the 2010 edition, they also progressed without winning either of their 2 opening fixtures, through a defeat and NR. West Indies have done the same here. Both defeats were through the DL method as well.
 This is not bigger than a 50 over World Cup

There was some talk about fans enjoying and rating this WT20 higher than the 50 over format. Here is why I find that wrong:
50 over format has more history and tradition, starting from 1975 as opposed to 2007, you can make comparisons for one.
It’s less of a lottery as the cricketing skill required is greater. Hence, you can praise and criticise more fairly and see where you’re team is at with more perspective.
Held every 4 years as opposed to 2. This only makes it a bigger event.      
Not all respected greats and experts embrace the Twenty20 format, despite it being into its 8th year internationally i.e. Holding, Botham to name a few.
More games and harder to win, this makes the achievement of going the length more spectacular and admirable. It will certainly give the fans greater satisfaction.
ODIs might be a vulnerable format with extensive bilateral series arrangements, but world tournaments in the format have shown their value and charm and will still happen for some time to come.
However, that’s not to say that the WT20 is insignificant. It is a major one day trophy, the only Twenty20 international trophy and the biggest thing as an international team you can win in Twenty20 cricket. Franchises and clubs are more closer to international players in Twenty20 than list A fixtures or first class matches as they play more of it, so you could argue the WT20 is on par or just above the CLT20 and IPL as the other major popular Twnety20 events, domestically or internationally. It should continue to take place, but one shouldn’t get carried away about it being the biggest thing in one day cricket you can win. It is big, but not the biggest.

ODI tournaments
World Cup
Champions Trophy

Asia Cup

Women’s World Cup
ICC U19 World Cup

T20 tournaments

ICC World T20
ICC World T20 qualifier
ICC Women’s World T20

Surprise Selections

The exclusion of David Hussey was debateable and back in Australia many are surprised about him not making the playing XI. It was also surprising to see Ray Price as an experienced seasoned campaigner not picked for the opening fixture of the tournament for the Zimbabweans.

Tournament Structure

The pre-determined seedings mean that once a side has qualified, there is hardly much to play for afterwards until the super eights as there is no extra advantage for finishing 1st or 2nd. The ICC need to spice up the way they have structured this competition. It’s not bad, but could do with improving. Associates have to get the opportunity in this format if they are to stand a chance of improving, plus the possibilities of causing upsets are higher the shorter the game.
My preferred structure would be
  1)  12 teams, 4 semi-finalists of the previous tournament are already through to the super eights in the next one. The other 8 teams play 4 knock out matches to qualify for the super eights where you have two groups of 4 with the best 2 going to the semi-final.
  2)   If not, 16 teams, 4 groups of 4 with the best 2 qualifying for the quarter finals
  3)  If not, 16 teams knock out from the start.

Looking Ahead

6 days, 12 matches, 8 teams, 2 venues – the tournament starts properly here. 

  Super 8 Predictions
Day 1 (Group E) – Pallekele
Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand = Sri Lanka
West Indies vs. England = West Indies
Day 2 (Group F) – Colombo
Pakistan vs. South Africa = South Africa
India vs. Australia = India
Day 3 (Group E) – Pallekele
England vs. New Zealand = New Zealand
Sri Lanka vs. West Indies = Sri Lanka
Day 4 (Group F) - Colombo
South Africa vs. Australia = South Africa
Pakistan vs. India = Pakistan
Day 5 (Group E) - Pallekele
West Indies vs. New Zealand = New Zealand
Sri Lanka vs. England = Sri Lanka
Day 6 – Colombo
Pakistan vs. Australia = Pakistan
South Africa vs. India = South Africa
Therefore, I stick by my pre-tournament predictions of Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan reaching the semis, but for the tournament I will like to see Sri Lanka, England, Pakistan and India going through – 3 Asian giants and the defending champions will be a mouth-watering contest in the climax stages.                                                                                                                              


  1. Very true, Maaz. The group stages were quite lousy, but for the Pakistan against New Zealand game. Let us hope for a good finish, in Pakistan's next game against Bangladesh and hopefully, it is interesting (unlikely, with the likes of Ajmal and Afridi ripping through the middle order of every team).

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