Thursday, 31 March 2016

A delicious irony and lessons to learn

Well, I called the two T20 semi-finals wrong, with both games going the other way to that predicted by yours truly.

Truth be told, both England and the West Indies deserved their wins. Our lads produced their most emphatic display of the tournament to easily beat New Zealand, while the Windies overcame the early loss of Chris Gayle to knock out the hosts and tournament favourites.

There is, for me, a delicious irony in the hosts being knocked out. In much the same way that Americans call their baseball tournament the World Series, the Indian Premier League is seen, and perhaps quite rightly in terms of the money thrown at it, as the number one domestic cricket event in the game.

They still didn't make the final though and there must be a few thousand discounted tickets for the final going right now. That the West Indies, whose players make up some of the format's biggest names, are there is no real surprise. That England, who have few players of IPL experience in their side, have made it is delightful.

The final? When one considers that the West Indies are without Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine from a first choice side they have done very well, but England's endless batting could now see them shade it.

Much will depend on Chris Gayle, still the prized wicket and someone who will need to go early for England to win. They have some powerful hitters, but so do England and Gayle, the biggest hitter I have ever seen of a cricket ball, is the man who will, I think, dictate the course of the game.

I am sure our players at Derbyshire have watched with interest how batsmen have used the depth of the crease for leverage, but how bowlers have counteracted that with wide yorkers, or have followed them as they moved. Most telling has been how innings can still be built: the first six overs are like a sprint, the next ten like a game of chess, the final four like a madcap melee where, with wickets in hand and two batsmen set, fifty runs can easily be added to the score.

I look forward to seeing how our skills compare when the T20 starts, but first the 'proper' stuff.

All being well, I shall publish my season preview of four-day cricket this weekend.

I look forward to catching up then.

1 comment:

David Aust said...

I don't think the final will depend on Gayle, Buttler, Root or Simmons. I suspect this might actually depend on the toss with the team batting second being victorious - esspecially if it's England. I can see the Windies getting out for a low score trying to set an unrealistic target on a slow pitch. Here's (as a biased Englishman) hoping!!