Twenty20 World Cup Review

The West Indies are celebrating their first Twenty20 World Cup win and first World Cup triumph in any format since 1979 when the Windies defeated England in the one-day final at Lords. Their win over Sri Lanka in the final should be a huge boost for West Indian cricket but also sees Sri Lanka overtake South Africa as the biggest chokers in world cricket, adding to their losses in the 2007 and 2011 one-day world cup finals and the 2010 T20 world cup final. And hugely disappointing for this writer who got on Sri Lanka at $5.50 before the tournament and was supremely confident going into the final.

The group stage went according to script, India topped group A after defeating England but only just beat Afghanistan, who in turn were flogged by England. Australia beat the Windies and Ireland to top group B, South Africa topped group C after beating Sri Lanka who also went through to the next stage ahead of an uncompetitive Zimbabwe, while in group D Pakistan and New Zealand progressed ahead of a competitive Bangladesh. The all-time leading run-scorer in T20 internationals, Kiwi Brendan McCullum, made sure New Zealand would progress with a spectacular 123 off 58 balls against Bangladesh.

The crowds started to roll in for the super 8 stage where Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the West Indies and somewhat surprisingly Australia showed they were the best teams in the tournament and qualified for the semis. New Zealand were very unlucky, having tied games against both Sri Lanka and the Windies only to lose both games in the super over. One more quality batsman and the Kiwis would have been semi-finalists. As the pitches got old and wore the South Africans lack of quality spinners showed, India’s young team aren’t quite up to it yet and England’s team, full of so called T20 specialists but lacking K. Pieterson, were ordinary. Surely a quality Test and ODI batsman like Alastair Cook would be a better option and could adapt to this form of the game better than the County sloggers they pick.

Australia looked fantastic throughout the tournament until the last super 8 game against Pakistan and the semi final against the Windies where Watson’s (rare) failures showed up a middle order that to be fair hadn’t had much of a hit. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies got through on their excellent spinners and hard hitting batsmen. Pakistan’s lack of batting depth cost them in their semi and the two best teams got through to the final.

In a low scoring final, Marlon Samuels’ innings of 78 off 56 balls was crucial in the Windies score of 6/137. In reply Sri Lanka were all out for just 101. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine finished his great tournament with 3/9 off 3.4 overs, and Trinidadian leg spinner Samuel Badree was impressive with 1/24 opening the bowling.

Sri Lanka put on a great event. The pitches were surprisingly fast and bouncy early on before slowing and wearing in the second half of the world cup. Crowds were excellent, especially when the super 8’s started. And for the most part the weather held up.

Now many of the players head to South Africa representing their various franchises at the Champions League T20 event. Personally I’ve had enough of the shortest format for a while. Bring on the Sheffield Shield and Test matches. Really enjoyed watching the Bushrangers play a 50 over game on Sunday too. Twenty20 has its place but like any vice it should be consumed in moderation.

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134

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