Dubai: “The conditions here (in Australia) are not favourable for cricket, but I think it’s going to be same for everyone. It’s going to be an interesting tournament,” UAE coach Robin Singh had told Gulf News on the eve of the Twenty20 World Cup. In just two days, the showpiece has seen some very interesting results with giants suffering reversals at the hands of underdogs.
Two-time champions West Indies and the current Asia Cup winners Sri Lanka have suffered big losses against the Associate nations Scotland and Namibia respectively, while UAE lost to Netherlands in the penultimate ball in a low-scoring thriller.
Even the warm-up games were close contests and that gave us a glimpse of what is in store when the Super 12 begins on Saturday. One reason for the batters’ struggles is the fresh wickets which haven’t settled since it is still cold in Australia.
In the Twenty20 format, they are no favourites as one over or one knock could change the course of the match. That’s precisely the message Scotland and Namibia drove home against the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
Beauty of an over
Mohammed Shami, returning from the injury, produced a beauty of an over to give India the victory over the defending champions in the warm-up game.
Scotland did nothing wrong against West Indies and reaffirmed that catches win matches. They grabbed every chance that came their way, adding pressure on the West Indies. The big Australian grounds deter big shots as several batters have been caught on the boundary, which measures around 80 metres. It would have been a six on any other grounds, but not in Australia. The need of the hour is smart cricket, running hard and converting ones into twos and so on.
The matches so far indicate that bowlers, especially pacers, will have a free run and teams with strong batting might emerge winners. Only one team have successfully chased in the four matches, as Netherlands managed to cross the line in pursuit of a target of 112.