Saturday, September 29, 2012

T20 World Cup 2012 - a flash review

The Super Eights matches for the T20 World Cup 2012 have started off in whirlwind fashion, with each team having played out one match each.
While in Group A, hosts, Sri Lanka just about managed to pip over a fiesty New Zealand, via a Super Over in the opening game, the maverick Windies went past the English challenge in the next game. In Group B, Pakistan came out of the dumps to snatch a win from mighty South Africans, while India was demolished by a resurgent Australia.

Pakistan's win over Proteas was probably the only unexpected result in a rather predictable trend as of now.
Pakistan have always been a serious contender in cricket, especially in this format of the game. In this tournament, they boast of the arguably the best bowling attack in the grimy subcontinent conditions, but their batting seems to lack depth, at least on paper & current form. However, surprisingly, its their batting which has got them over the line this time around. From a precarious 76 for 7, chasing a modest 134 for victory, they bludgeoned a strong South African pace attack to win with just 2 balls to spare. In a tight group, like Group B, this win should prove extremely vital for their chances to make the semis grade. The unexpected batting blitzkrieg came from Umar Gul, who is better known as a bowler, & in company of Umar Akmal, at a time, when they were staring at  a certain defeat. The South Africans, probably eased a little too early & paid the price by losing the game & pushing themselves into a precarious position now.
India losing to Australia was something I had expected. Their batting looks very brittle with only Kohli in form, & against any disciplined attack they would struggle. Batting first, India grafted to a modest total of 140 & then succumbed to the Aussie opening duo of Warner & Watson, who beat the living daylights out of the Indian attack, adding 133 runs in a little over 13 overs.

In Group A, The Kiwis started rather well against the Lankan attack & managed a healthy par score of 174 for 7. Opener Nicol put up a brilliant 58 & Guptil chipped in with a useful 38 at the top of the order. In chase the Lankans looked well set for victory, with Dilshan batting superbly, but a stutter at the end, left them stranded, with scores level. Enter Super Over - & Lasith Malinga bowled to his potential, probably for the first time in the tournament to ease a Lankan victory. The Kiwis can take heart from their performance & with some luck & pluck might have caused an upset.
In the other match the Windies tore the English attack, with a century partnership at the top. Gayle got 58 while, Johnson Charles exploded to 84 after a slow start, as the mavericks put up 179 runs for 5 wickets. In reply, the English lost two wickets in the very first over & were clearly struggling. With imminent defeat staring, Eoin Morgan joined Alex Hales in the middle for the fourth wicket & put up 107 runs off just 58 balls, raising hopes of a improbable victory. But in the end, it was too uphill even for Morgan, who remained unbeaten at 71 off 36 deliveries. England, the current T20 World Cup holders, lack the depth in bowling or batting, to make any significant impact & I dont see them going to the semis.

For me its Sri Lanka & West Indies from Group A, who look good to reach the semifinals. In the other Group, its going to be a much closer contest, with each team having the potential & firepower to go through, though I dont see India doing too well.
However, its game cricket & that too T20, full of uncertainties, full of remarkable comebacks from death, full  of entertainment, full of blitz & glitz....
Look forward to some Gayle storm, De Villiers switch shot, Pollard onslaught, Bravo bravado, Warner / Watson wallop, Dilshan scoop, pristine Jayawardane, McCullum madness, Kohli aggression, Sehwag whiplash(if at all), in batting over the next few days. Also looking forward to some magical spin from Ajmal of Pakistan, Naraine of West Indies, Mendis of Sri Lanka, Ashwin & Bhajji from India, not to forget Steyn, Morkel, Cummins, Starc, Malinga in pace.

Its cricket mania......bring in on.....