The ICC World T20 will be entering the final week and the games will hopefully be more interesting than they have been so far. Some of them have been pretty one-sided like the India-Australia game, and some like the Sri Lanka-New Zealand game that went down to a super over and the Pakistan-South Africa matches have been real thrillers.
Expectedly the batsmen have dominated the tournament with big hitters like Shane Watson, Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Luke Wright hitting some of the biggest sixes seen in the game. Quite naturally it is the batsmen, who are in the running for the top honours this week.
The T20 format is one that is heavily loaded in favour of the batsmen and the bowlers are usually on a hiding to nothing. They get clobbered and even though they have devised some new deliveries like the slow bouncer or the back of the hand change of pace delivery, the batsmen having the freedom and license to throw their bats at every ball connect with some of these bowling variations and send the ball into the crowd for some catching practice for the spectators.
The minnows who got an opportunity to play this event were quite disappointing. If there is a format that gives a huge chance to cause an upset it is the ultra short format of the game, but the minnows did not quite grab the chances that came their way. Afghanistan were probably the best of the minnows as they gave India a close game and played some fine shots against England in their next game too.
They have a good new ball attack, but quite clearly it is the lack of big match experience that is holding them back. The Test teams of the sub-continent should try and encourage the Afghans by inviting them to play in the T20 domestic competitions and also send their 'A' teams to play against them so that they get good practice and experience.
Much was expected of Ireland and Zimbabwe, but they were really disappointing with a poor understanding of what is required in the T20 format. It looked as if some of their players were relying on past performances to keep them in the game and that is hardly going to help any side.
Brendon McCullum had set the inaugural IPL alight with a firecracker of a display hitting 15 sixes in a knock of 158, but since then he had never really played a match changing innings in this format. He however came to the party with a brilliant 123 in New Zealand’s first game of the tournament and then followed it up with some useful knocks against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Chris Gayle as usual has hit some massive sixes, but has got out just when the crowds were expecting some more. What he has also given is a new dance move in celebration of taking a wicket and which will no doubt be copied by other cricketers. Luke Wright too has been impressive missing out on a century by just one run and Eoin Morgan is showing that he is made for this format of the game.
It is Brendon McCullum with his century who is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.Professional Management Group