Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Eighth Post : World T-20 Special Edition.

World T-20 special.

In this episode of Adamski loves cricket …. a special edition focusing on games in the world T-20 featuring associate nation Ireland as they battle against Australia and the West Indies. Plus we look at affiliate nation Afghanistan and they duke it out with India and World T-20 holders England. PLUS … well, that’s about it really. But I think that’s enough for this WORLD T-20 SPECIAL EDITION!!!

Hi there and welcome to Adamski loves cricket. Let’s just say that I’m Adamski and press on with a pretty packed episode.

Ireland first game is against Australia in the Premadasa stadium, Colombo.
The chat before the encounter was focus on Ireland's reputation as giant killers (having previously beaten England and Pakistan in consecutive 50 over world cups and also knocking out Bangladesh in the 2009 edition of the world T-20 in England to progress to, and put up a good showing, in the 2nd round.
There was also chat focused on Ireland being preliminary ranked above Australia in the world T-20 rankings (due to Australia’s losing streak against Pakistan in the U.A.E. just before this comp started.
Ireland will want both of these issues played down as much as possible. it suites Ireland to be viewed as underdogs as this can lead to opponents underestimating them. Alas, those days are gone for Ireland and they have become victims of their own success. Their reputation now precedes them and all nations now know ‘woe betide those who underestimate the Irish side.’
Now all nations take them seriously and will be keen to focus their attention on them while allowing no slip ups.

The issue of Australia being ranked below Ireland can easily be dismissed as a vagary of the ranking format but you can bet that being ranked below Ireland is something that has irked and rankled every single Australian and something that the team will publicly talk down but privately be determined to rectify.
None of this bodes well for Ireland.
Even Australia’s reputation as not taking the T-20 format seriously, not grasping the technicalities required and underperforming in the format seems to have been rectified with a focus on selection of T-20 specialists and flexibility in their line up. Even their early leavers’ reputation (knocked out in the group stages in 2009) has been vanquished by being runners up in the last world T-20 against England.
The quote by oz captain George Bailey says it all really: ‘Australia are our biggest threat. If we rock up ready to play as well as we can, then I don't think there is a threat.’
He knows that Ireland are a quality outfit that on a given day can match them in batting power but in saying that “Australia are Australia’s biggest threat” he indicates their lack of application in this format in the past while also giving a wake up call to his team. But while going on to say “if Australia rock up and play as well as they can then they don't think that Ireland will be a threat” smacks of overconfidence that has seen them eliminated early on in previous world T-20‘s.
Australia go into this match without their 4 leading wicket takers in T-20. Brett Lee and Shaun Tate have retired while Mitchell Johnston and Dirk Nannes were not selected, plus Australia’s leading run scorer in T-20, David Hussey, seems to have fallen out of favour and probably won’t be selected.
Impressive depth in talent when you feel you can mount a serious challenge to the title with so many of your senior players missing/unavailable.
Ireland select a full strength team from a squad that has been together for some time now.

And so to the game.

Ireland win the toss and chose to bat first in what promises to be their toughest game in their group. In front of a nearly empty ground both nations will want to get of to a good start and set the tone for the match. Ireland’s captain, Porterfield, faces up to Australia’s vice captain, Watson. Both men have been thinking about this moment for weeks, and now its here, the test begins.
Watson digs the first ball of the match in short. He’s both testing the pace and bounce in the pitch and also testing the Ireland captain. Porterfield is onto it and hooks the ball away, but he is late onto it, beaten by Watson’s pace and his hook shot only succeeds in picking out the fielder at fine leg who takes the catch easily.
He’s out.
First ball of the match.
For a golden duck.

It’s not the first time Porterfield has been out for a duck recently. Twice during the summer against Afghanistan and also against England in the 2011 world cup. Ireland went on to win all those games but Australia don't care about any of that right now as they know that they have set the tone they wanted right from ball one and have shown their intention and , more importantly, are going for the kill as they can smell the blood of the Irishmen.

Ireland struggle to regain their composure and lost wickets at regular intervals, some to pretty soft dismissals, to stumble to 4 for 33 in the 8th over.
The brothers O’Brien were the rescuers of Irelands innings and their 53 run partnership was the best of the innings and also allowed them to achieve the top two scores on Irelands pretty dismal scorecard.
The reintroduction of Watson into the attack broke the partnership and the hopes of an Irish revival as Naill O’Brien played around a slower delivery, out for 20 (the 2nd highest score of the innings) and in the same over had Kevin O'Brien caught behind trying to uppercut a short ball, for 35 off 29 balls (the highest score of the innings.)
Irelands lower order managed to get the score from 6 for 86 after 15 overs to 7 for 123 from the full 20 overs.
Watson, after a fab start in the first over and then taking the steam out of the Irish middle order was trusted with the last over of the game too. but 12 runs coming off it, including Irelands only 6 of the game (coming off the last ball) couldn't take the shine off his effort and Australia could not help but feel confident about chasing a low total of 123.
Australia set about the run chase double quick time never wasting an opportunity to show their dominance. some wayward bowling from Boyd Rankin didn’t help keep any pressure on and with the unusually miserly bowling of Trent Johnston 2nd over going for 19 runs things were looking desperate for Ireland and their search for wickets.
At the end of the 6 over powerplay Australia were 53 for no wicket and the game already looked in the bag. Wickets were the only way for Ireland to get back into this match but by the time they claimed their first, Warner out for 26 off 23 balls in the 8th over, Australia’s total was on 60 and Watson still hitting the ball to all parts. The one man army that was Watson brought up his 50 in only 28 balls to add to his outstanding bowling display earlier in the day. By the time he is out soon after for 51, run out from a Johnston direct hit, Australia are in cruise control with the score on 91 for 2 inside 11 overs.
Ireland claimed Michael Hussey's wicket soon after and despite White and Bailey finishing the run chase less convincingly than Warner and Watson started it Australia still win the game with 7 wickets in hand and 29 balls to spare.

Australia show their dominance in the most emphatic manner with this victory over Ireland showing that they mean business in this competition as they try to win the one bit of major silverware missing from their trophy cabinet.

Ireland can take away some cold comfort that part of the reason Australia looked to thump them so thoroughly was due to the success of Ireland in the past. There are now no easy games for Ireland as the better they become the more the major teams will look to keep them down. Its tough being a victim of your own success but this tricky time will eventually pass for Ireland as success will breed success, assuming that they continue to build and grow in the way that have without losing too many world class players to the English set up (yeah, we’re looking at you Boyd Rankin).

The affiliate nation of Afghanistan is one of the rare success stories for the I.C.C. and its aim to globalize the game. Afghanistan’s fairy tale rise through the rankings of the world cricket league to being able to compete at this, their 2nd world T-20 competition in a row is meteoric not to mention the envy of other more established nations.
That their nation has embraced cricket with such passion and enthusiasm is tribute enough to the amazing game but that they have managed to do so under such difficult circumstances, including war and lack of infrastructure is tribute to a passionate and determined people.

For the 2nd time in two appearances at a world T-20 Afghanistan have drawn India in the group round. last time in the West Indies, Afghanistan put in a good performance, didn't embarrass themselves and lost to India by 7 wickets (with 31 balls remaining).
They will be wanting to improve upon that performance and believe that they have the talent and ability to do so.

India, for their part, don’t look settled. Its only one year since they won the 50 over world cup in their own back yard so convincingly but they look out of sorts in the run up to this comp with batsmen not firing and bowlers looking brittle. They’d best be on guard as Afghanistan will love to take advantage of any weakness shown.
A quote from Afghan captain Nawroz Mangal about the game was that although expectations on them are quite high this is still a learning experience for the team adding “Everyone is saying Afghanistan is capable of creating an upset. We will put up a good show and prove that we belong on this stage.” shows that they know they are still some way from winning the entire tournament but believe they can challenge and even claim a win on their way of their continued progression in the cricket worlds consciousness.
so lets see how they fared in the game itself then.

Afghanistan win the toss and chose to bowl first. They are without their talismanic strike bowler, Hameed Hassan, who is still troubled by an injury he sustained several months ago. Widely regarded as one of the fastest and best bowlers outside the test nations he is a phenomenal talent that the Afghans are sure to miss. In his absence the tall left arm seamer Shapoor Zadran was trusted with the new ball.
He shows his intent from the first ball of the match which was dug in short and whizzed past opener Gautam Gambhir. He had Gambhir beaten for pace often in the over after breaking the 150 kph barrier.
In Zadran’s 2nd over he claimed Gambhir’s wicket from an inside edge onto the stumps from a week prod outside off. Having earn another over at the top of the innings Zadran 3rd over claims the massive wicket of Sehwag. Having beaten Sehwag's outside edge twice in the previous over he now collects a true edge which is easily taken by the wicketkeeper.
At 22 for 2 in the 5th over things don't look good for India but Kohli strode to the crease with good intent and set about rebuilding the innings while collecting runs freely.

He features in the two best partnerships for India, 46 with Yuvraj Singh before Yuvraj edged a cut to short third man for 18 in the 11th over, and 46 with Raina before Kohli is out caught in the 26th over on the long on boundary for a fantastic 50 off 39 balls.
It’s a game changing knock as it raised the platform for India to launch from as well as getting India’s run rate above 6 for the first time in the match.

It might not have been that way for India as Afghanistan let indiscipline into their bowling and fielding during the 2nd half of their innings. Both Kohli and Raina were dropped before either of their innings truly had taken hold and Afghanistan were letting a dominant position slip through their hands.
If they had held their catches they could have had India at 79 for 5 and it would have been a very different ball game.
The old adage “catches win matches” has never been more apt.
by the time Raina was eventually dismissed in the last over of the innings, bowled looking for another big hit, he has scored 38 off 35 balls with the score on 148 for 5.
Dhoni hit the last 2 balls of the innings for 4 and 6 to finish with the innings total at 159 for 5 and telling a very different story to how it could have been.

Shapoor Zadran after bowling so well at the top of the order 4th over fell victim to the indiscipline that infected the entire team and went for 19 runs, ruining his otherwise excellent figures to end up with 2 wickets for 33 runs.
He remained the best of the afghan bowlers.

If there is one thing about this Afghanistan team it is their confidence in their own ability and despite letting India off the hook as they have done in this match they will feel confident that they have the batting firepower to chase down any total put in front of them.

And so it started well with openers Mohammad Shahzad, who had injured himself while wicket keeping, and Captain Nawroz Mangal getting off to a good start and keeping them on the pace required to chase down India’s total. Their opening partnership is worth 26 and comes to an end when Shahzad is the first of Balkis victims. He’s out caught of a top edge at mid on swinging wildly at everything but not getting away with it this time in the 4th over.
He is replaced by Karim Sadiq who keeps up the team run rate ahead of the game and his own run rate at a run a ball. its another solid partnership for Afghanistan as captain Mangal take on the attack forcing Dhoni to change the bowlers and bring in his magic man Yuvraj Singh.

Its a magic move from Dhoni as Yuvraj strikes first ball getting Mangal out L.B.W. to a straight ball from 22 off 18 balls.
Afghanistan’s score is now 2 for 52 in the 8th over and the question is can they maintain this pace, because if they do they will win this game.

Karim Sadiq pushes on at a run a ball 26 off 26 but when Yuvraj claims his wicket in the 12th over and then another wicket the very next ball Afghanistan are suddenly at 4 for 75. Another wicket in the next over see them at 5 for 76 and things falling apart.

Mohammad Nabi quick fire innings keeps the afghan dream alive and while he was there India could not have been at ease. His blistering 31 off 17 balls includes hitting the 16th over for 16 runs.
Ashwin claims the dangerman’s wicket by pausing an eternity in his delivery stride to throw off the batsman rhythm and Nabi mishit it to mid off where he is caught.
Afghanistan’s hopes leave the field with his as the tail fails to wag with scores of 1,8,5,5,8,0 but Afghanistan have not been disgraced in this match at all.
In fact its a lot closer than the final score line would indicate.

India’s 159 for 5 beat Afghanistan all out for 136 by 23 runs.
But they were right up there in terms of score comparison for most of the match.
After the powerplay overs India were 34 for 2 … Afghanistan were 42 for 1
India’s 50 came off 47 balls - Afghanistan 50 came off 40 balls
India’s 100 came off 83 balls … Afghanistan 100 came off 89 balls

It’s only some basic indiscipline while fielding, dropping four catches and letting pressure get to them and inexperience with how to pace a run chase and develop partnerships that have let them down at crucial points in this match.
This is only Afghanistan’s 4th international T-20 against a full member and one feels that with more top flight competition at regular intervals this could all change very quickly.

Afghanistan’s next chance to show how close they are to bridging the gap between the full members comes quickly and its against England.

Despite England being current world T-20 holders and ranked #1 in the world, little is expected from them in this competition. recent form in Asian conditions has been patchy at best and with an inexperienced captain in Stuart Broad not to mention some untested squad members, unsettlement in player ranks (England’s best player and proven match winner, Kevin Pietersen, is out of the England set up due to a falling out with the board) however, England have 7 team members from their world T-20 winning squad from over 2 years ago in their squad this time too. But as Stuart Broad himself said, form from two months ago matters very little in T-20 let alone two years ago!

Also, England haven't quite developed a reputation for being the minnows friend in world events, but with losses to Ireland and Bangladesh in the world cup last year and losing to the Netherlands in the opening game of the 2009 world T-20 , another loss to a minor nation will add more fuel to that fire. It must be a fire that England will not want to fan and the best way to snuff it out will be to put in a professional display against Afghanistan today.

Another reputation England are fighting against is the reputation of starting slow in world tournaments.
These are all things Afghanistan will want to exploit when they take on England for the first time in their history.

Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bowl first hoping to exploit the conditions and put England under pressure.
Once again Afghanistan were missing their talismanic fast bowler, Hameed Hassan, due to continuing injury but once again Shapoor Zadran took on the mantle of opening bowler with distinction. Zipping the opening over past Kieswetter on a two paced track before claiming his wicket, bowled playing on from the last ball of the first over for a rare wicket maiden.

Things were kept tight and near chances created and after 4 overs the score was 15 for 1. But, having come to grips with the pitch, Wright and Hales picked up the pace and by the end of the 6 over powerplay had powered on to 52 for 1 wicket.
Their 69 run partnership is only undone when hales was out backing up when a straight drive back down the pitch by Wright was deflected by the bowler onto the stumps. Unfortunately run out for 31 off 27 balls.

With England at 84 for 3 from 12 overs Afghanistan were not out of this match but England launched an attack from the platform provided. The partnership between Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan is the best of the innings at 72. Despite Morgan looking unconvincing he still scored 27 of 23 balls before being caught at midwicket.

Butler and Bairstow came in and hit without fear as the situation allowed and scored 15 off 7 and 12 off 5 respectively.
Meanwhile Luke Wright had worked his way into the 90’s with a rare T-20 international century in his sights. He needed 3 off the last ball to achieve it but could only squeeze the ball out through midwicket for 2 runs, leaving him stranded on 99 not out.
His attempt to be the first English batsman to score a T-20 international century sees him become the 2nd English batsman to score 99 !!! (Alex hales is the other 99er).

Perhaps he celebrated with an ice cream !!!

Wrights 99 comes off 55 balls , contains eight 4’s and six 6’s (the most 6’s in an innings beating Eoin Morgan’s five against South Africa in 2009.) and is the iron rod of England batting performance that allows them to reach the massive total of 196 for 5 from the full 20 overs.

That leaves the Afghan bowlers licking their wounds and wondering where they lost it.
They lost it in the field where some poor displays let the pressure off England and again in some ill disciplined bowling, missing lengths, low full tosses when tightness was required etc.

While most of the time you would back Afghanistan’s talented batsmen to have a good crack at chasing down 150-160, 190 odd to win just looks like too big a challenge for this inexperienced at top level team to manage.
Mind you if they play well and pace their innings well things could get interesting.
And England cannot just expect to win it without putting in an effort. That is what's allowed them to slip up against unfancied opposition in the past.

Finn opens the bowling for England and puts in some of the required effort zipping it past the afghan batsmen and forcing the wicketkeeper to take many deliveries above his head. Reward comes to Finn off the last ball of the first over claiming Mohammad Zadran, caught by broad at mid on as Zadran slices it high but fails to achieve lift off on this occasion.

The very next ball sees Shafiqullah out to Dernbach attempting another ugly hoik only for it to sky high and come down in Bopara’s hands at cover.

Afghanistan two out for 2 runs in the 2nd over and unless someone attempts to stabilize the innings embarrassment awaits Afghanistan.

A great caught and bowled by broad, an embarrassing run out of Stockbridge proportions and a fantastic catch at long leg within the 6 over powerplay leave Afghanistan batting in tatters.

Five down for 22 runs and with no one showing any inclination to apply themselves look to be heading into record defeat territory.

The lowest world T-20 score is Ireland 68 vs. West Indies, Providence, 2010 and its only some lofty hitting from #8 batsmen G. Nabi that Afghanistan manage to pass it. His high score of 44 is the team's highest and the only score to make it into double figures and sets a new record for the highest score by a number 8 batsman in T-20 I.

When he is out, another batsman attempting another big hit, in the 18th over Afghanistan have managed to crawl up to 80 all out, losing by 116 runs gives them 3rd place on the heaviest defeats (in terms of runs) and they avoid their lowest T-20 I score by equalling their previous lowest of 80 against South Africa in the 2010 edition.

And they record the lowest total of the competition. their score card looks like a disaster zone with scores of 1,8,0,5,4,1,2,44,0,9,0 ...which, By a totally staggering coincidence that is also the telephone number of an Islington flat where I once went to a very good party and met a very nice girl, whom I totally failed to get off with. I haven't thought of her in ages. I wonder what she’s up to ... [cue making a phone call to ask her on a date only to be rebutted in a comedy fashion/put down/one liner] ...BOOM.

oh well, anyway, all the English bowlers get a run and most pick up wickets but this is a clinical performance from England in all disciplines and one that has punctured the fairy tale rise of Afghanistan cricket with a harsh reality check.
They have the talent to be a real threat but lack the discipline to effectively employ it on a regular basis at the top level.

It’s a humbling lesson to learn but once accepted is something to grow stronger and more disciplined from.

This 2nd loss eliminates Afghanistan from the competition on a downer.

With Australia having beat Ireland and also the West Indies in group B the clash between Ireland and the West Indies took on an extra spark of knock out/eliminator proportions.
A win for either team would see them through to the super 8 and it was a juicy proposition.

Ireland and the West Indies have met in a world T-20 previously. Back in 2010 West Indies dismissed Ireland for a paltry 68 runs in what remains the lowest team total in world T-20 history and the 2nd lowest T-20-I ever.

Ireland’s tenacity cannot be underestimated especially when their backs against the wall.
Unfortunately half the Irish team and management backs have been against the toilet cistern for the last week as a bout of gastroenteritis has run through their ranks and claims Boyd Rankin to sickness for this game.
With Boyd Rankin having announced his retirement from Irish internationals in order to focus on playing for England this is a sad end for what should have been a glorious swansong.
Sometimes cricket is a cruel game.

Pun warning: Ireland in the runs before this game even starts then, but not in a good way.
Let’s see if they get some of the good runs as this game gets underway.

There’s rain in the air and there’s a good chance that Duckworth-Lewis will be called into play. the Duckworth-Lewis method was invented to make rain affected 50 over matches fairer to both teams but when applied to the 20 over game some deficiencies have been shown to favour the team batting 2nd.

With this knowledge in hand the West Indies chose to bowl first after winning the toss. The Irish captain, William Porterfield, will be desperate to make amends for his first ball duck against Australia in the previous game.
Before the game he had promised to let it past him if it was a bouncer.
Fidel Edwards pitches the first delivery up to get some late inswing on a toe crushing yorker that Porterfield, true to his word, let go past him (as it squeezed between bat and pad) only to see his stumps splayed in three different directions.

Porterfield trudges from the field with his 2nd duck of the tournament and if Ireland does not progress all his effort in this tournament will amount to two first ball ducks. Two golden ducks. Two deliveries and your tournaments over !!!

Sometimes cricket is a cruel game.

He is replaced at the crease by Ed Joyce and he and Stirling look fluent enough to guide the total to 33 for 1 in five overs before rain forced players from the field for about an hour.

When play resumed the game had been shortened to 19 overs per side but Ireland had lost momentum and Sunil Narine spun two balls past the edge of Joyce before clean bowling him behind his legs with a straight one and Ireland end the powerplay overs on 35 for 2.

Stirling is out in the next over, top edging an attempted pull and Ireland splutter along in fits and starts until a late innings partnership of 26 between the O’Brien brothers gave Ireland some impetus.
They are both out within an over of each other leaving the bowlers Johnston and Jones to hit out in the final two overs. some urgency from them and a few lofty 6’s propped Irelands total up to 129 for 6 in what ,by all accounts, looks to be a sub standard score, and one that this West Indies team look capable of doing in boundaries.

Unfortunately we never got to see the West Indies fireworks as rain returned to destroy the batting innings before the openers had managed to strap on their pads forcing this game to be abandoned due to bad weather and a ‘no result’ is recorded.

The points are shared at one each but West Indies advance to the super 8 due to a better run rate.

This puts the West Indies in the curious position of advancing to the 2nd round without winning a single group match (they lost to Australia and have a no result here). Just goes to show how all important run rate really is especially in such a cut throat format.

Ireland end on a downer.

Ireland end the comp knowing that they produced two below par batting displays against two nations who were not treating Ireland lightly, or like a minor league nation, at all.

And thus ends the associate and affiliate nations’ involvement in this world T-20.

You could say the earlier matches go to form but there was still plenty to get excited about, not least Afghanistan giving India a fright, closely followed by their disaster against England and Ireland being cheated out of a chance to defend their meagre total by the weather.

Its no secret that as I record this vlog the tournament has been played and completed but if you asked me before a ball had been bowled who would win it I would have said...

Australia - yeah, good chance
South Africa - yeah, good chance
India - yeah, good chance
Sri Lanka - yeah, good chance
England - yeah, good chance
Pakistan - yeah, good chance
New Zealand - yeah, good chance
West Indies - yeah, good chance
Zimbabwe - no chance
Bangladesh - no chance
Ireland - no chance
Afghanistan - no chance

It really was that open at the top and closed at the bottom.
In the end the West Indies went on to win it and joyous celebrations were to be seen everywhere as everyone’s 2nd favourite nation (everyone loves the West Indies) lifted the trophy for the first time and talk was of this victory on the world stage being the philippe the west indies needs to reinvigorate their fortunes.

I hope that it is and not just another false dawn (I heard the exact same chat after the west indies won their last major world tournament , the Champions Trophy held in England back in 2004)
A world with a strong west indies in it is a very exciting one indeed.

And so we come to the end of this world T-20 special edition of Adamski loves cricket. Join me next time for more news and updates from the high performance associates and affiliate nations.

Until then, thanks for watching.

Oh, just one last thing before we go...

In the 2010 event Ireland were knocked out after a loss in their 1st match and a rain affected wash out against England which saw England advance to the next round due to better run rate
England went on to win that competition and raise the world T-20 trophy.

In this 2012 event Ireland were knocked out after a loss in their 1st match and a rain affected wash out against the West Indies which saw the West Indies advance to the next round due to better run rate
West Indies went on to win that competition and raise the world T-20 trophy.

There is talk that the I.C.C. will change the format for the 2014 edition with rumours of expanding it to 14 teams or even 16 teams.

Good news for developing cricket nations if it’s true but there’s still plenty of time for the I.C.C. to snatch that particular cherry away from hungry to develop nations.

No matter what the format I bet that every nation will be wanting to draw Ireland as their 2nd game, and for it to be washed out!!!
A precedent been set and the benefits are seemingly great.
It certainly is an interesting prospect and will be worth watching to see if it comes true a third time.

No matter who’s in it or how many teams Associate / affiliate‘s play, I can't wait.

Hope to see you there.

Until then...

byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee .

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