Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 17, 2009

Twenty things we’ve learned about T20

twenty20Two weeks ago, the Trumpet ventured Twenty things about the ICC World Twenty20. As the group stages give way to the semi-finals, the Trumpet has learned much, and shares his thoughts below.

1. England is a superb venue for international sport. International teams get a lot of support, the neutrals are knowlegeable and generous and the grounds wonderfully presented.

2. The tickets are too expensive and the application process too convoluted. That so few West Indian fans were at The Oval (of all places) on Monday was a sad indictment of the ticketing policy.

3. Unless it’s 25C or warmer, batting isn’t easy in England, so play straight and don’t be greedy.

4. Bowl full at the stumps or bowl short at the head.

5. Some catching is superb and some very ordinary – often from the same player.

6. When run out chances come, every team still hits the stumps more often than England.

7. Hitting one boundary per over and running hard will get eight or nine per over with very few risks. 160 in England is enough to win at least seven out of ten matches unless the weather is hot.

8. Sixes are over-rated. Top run scorer, Dilshan, has hit just one; top average, Kallis, three; and most impressive batsman, Jayawardene, two. Busted flush Yuvraj has nine.

9. Some commentators from outside England and Australia seem to believe that its their job to say exactly what we can see – reversing Benaud’s mantra.

10. Cross-batted slogging will get batsmen out.

11. The last ball of the over is the most important. It can provoke a wicket or a boundary, so both sides have an opportunity.

12. The two most effective spinners are South Africans! Roelof van der Merwe’s darts and Joahn Botha’s canniness have been a revelation.

13. Wicket-taking matters. It’s a dot ball, often followed by a dot ball and a single. Eight of those in an innings brings eight runs from four overs putting a lot of pressure on the other 16 overs.

14. If players are injured and need treatment, substitutes / new batsmen should be introduced immediately and treatment be administered on the boundary. T20 needs a quick tempo throughout.

15. The dancers add little, as does the music. It makes serious but entertaining sport look like the WWE.

16. The two matches in a day format works well.

17. The tournament in 16 days format works well.

18. Having said that, there shouldn’t be a group with WI, Aus and SL in it with only two to qualify.

19. Duckworth-Lewis needs updating for T20.

20. Lycra and Jacques Kallis don’t mix.


  1. but nederlands does well in T10!

  2. Well done in creating twenty ideas twice about T20. Does that mean we’ll have 132 things about the Ashes next fortnight? (One for each year!)

    Also, do you think it is time London had a cricket venue that was more than a boutique ground. Not the MCG or Eden Gardens but a stadium that could hold at least 50,000 spectators?

    It would be a Wembley-like atmosphere, the English supporters wouldn’t be outnumbered by their opponents and nearly everyone could acquire an Ashes ticket. Also, with more seats the ticket price could be reduced.

    I guess Lord’s and The Oval combined would be close to that figure but it is rather difficult to play cricket in two places at once!

    I agree the Protea tweakers have been a surprise – although Botha did play well in Australia last summer – but I think Mendis deserves a mention. To be fair I’m not sure if he is a spinner or a medium slow bowler. Perhaps he should have his own category. A slow medium iverson?

    The dancers, and I use that description reluctantly, have been embarrassingly poor at their chosen craft. I do hope the same movers, shakers and choreographers won’t be allowed near the opening of the Olympics in 2012.

    And as for Kallis and lycra. I think that privately our dear friend Pepp might disagree!

  3. Nesta – It would be most unlikely for London to acquire another big cricket ground. Even the Olympic stadium will be downsized after the Games and the experience of building Wembley (an Aus firm, I think!) has put Brits off stadium building for a lifetime.

    The challenge is to find a way of playing T20 in a football stadium. None are one tenth as beautiful as any of these –

    Mendis has been very good, but we kind of expected that. The squashed Darren Gough (van der Merwe) has bowled his darts with great skill and I know you’re an admirer of Botha whose action is dodgy, but he has the brain of a real cricketer.

    I’m sure Pepp will be along soon to comment on Kallis and I guess Mango is still barking at the dancers!

    • They play cricket on Rugby grounds like Eden Park in New Zealand so it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Does make for some odd shot making and field settings though.

      The lack of large stadia could have been solved if the English of the Victorian era had their priorities in order, that is, cricket takes precedent over all things.

      The Australian approach to a winter game with a ball you kick around was to design it so that it can only be played on cricket grounds. In fact, its initial purpose was to keep cricketers fit and primed throughout the off-season.

  4. I like points (7) and (8). The run rate can easily be maintained without taking big risks and big overs. If you have a few top-order partnerships lasting 5 overs each and going at 8 r/o, they will be 120 after 15 overs. 10 r/o from there takes them to 170 and with wickets in hand, they can do much more.

  5. Re: #12 – Saeed Ajmal has more wkts than both VD and Botha, while Afridi has more than Botha. And with better averages, strike rates, and econ rates too :-)

  6. Q – you’re right of course and I’ve seen Ajmal and Afridi twice at The Oval, so I know their class. I ought to have made clear that it’s the way that VdM and Botha bowl in partnership that impresses and that both are relative newcomers and from a spinning desert. Afridi is made for this format and Ajmal is obviously an experienced and canny operator, although, as with all doosra bowlers, I don’t like the look of his other one.

  7. TT: u r right abt the fact that VD and Botha coming from South Africa is what makes their performance all the more intriguing. Never thought ud be saying South African and spinners in the same breath.

  8. One thing which surprised me totally was that the 4 semi-finalists looked a class apart from the unlucky teams England, India, NZ, Australia.

    Well England actually didnt discredit themselves by finishing 5th compared to their deserved ODI ranking of 6th to 8th.

    If somebody said before the tournament that India, Oz and NZ will not make it to Semi and Holland would defeat Eng, I wouldn’t have been surprised. For that is the fun and excitement guaranteed by T20, precisely for which reason stale ODI has gone out of favour and T20 adopted.

    But India, NZ, and AUS to actually play like they didn’t deserve to be in T20 was very disappointing for all thier ardent fans.

    If only 4 teams play like they deserve to be in Semis then what is the point in Super8s?

  9. My take-away from the success stories SA, WI, SL, Pak are:

    1. Successful international strategy differs from successful domestic strategy like IPL

    2. In IPL Warne preserved big-hitters like Yousuf to the last 5-6 overs and preferred consolidating from over 7-15.

    3. Unsuccessful teams like Bangladesh and India tried to score 50-60 runs each in the first 6 powerplay overs, middle 7-15 consolidation phase and end 16-20 slog overs where they burn the candles from both end.

    4. successful teams like SA, WI tweak this formula by hitting out in 10-15 overs and then using experienced finishers to absorb the pressure in overs 16-20

  10. 5. My ideal batting strategy would be
    opener 1 – Explosive batsmen like Gayle/Jayasurya/Sehwag/Afridi/Gilchrist
    opener 2 – useful sidekick like – Fletcher, Gambhir, Kamran Akmal
    1 down – Maverick Natural and Impact player like – Gibbs, Dilshan, Lendl Simmons, Dhoni, Razzaq, Pietersen
    2 down – key player, consistently best batsman of the team like AB D, Yuvraaj, Bravo, Misbah, Rohit
    5 & 6 – pair of proven,reliable, experienced hands who can turn on the power at will like Chanders/Sarwan, Mahela/Sanga, Yousuf/Sachin, Younis/ShoaibMalik, Smith-Kallis
    7 & 8 – useful bowling all-rounders like Van-derMerwe-Albie Morkel, Harbajhan/IrfanPathan

    • I think India really missed Sehwag The following line-up if fully fit would have chased down Eng/SA totals with no problems
      Sehwag – Gambhir
      Yousuf – Rohit
      Irfan – Harbhajan
      Pragyaan Ojha – RP Singh

  11. 6 Sri-Lanka, SA, Pak have the clearly best bowling attacks compared to the eliminated teams. WI has a half decent bowling attack, which weakness they mask by chasing with their batting which has the strongest top-6

    7. based on the successful attacks, the ideal attack would look like
    Opening bowler – Raw pace like Edwards, Parnell, Malinga, Aamer
    Opening partner – Experienced Intelligent hand like Steyn, Taylor, RP, Gul
    Main Spinner – experience, wily fox who can soak up pressure like Murali, Harbhajan, Afridi, Botha, Swann
    Spinner 2 – Wicket taker and partnership breaker like Mendis/Ajmal/PragyanOjha/Bravo/VanDerMerwe who just do not want to give the ball away
    misery support bowlers – Gayle, Jadeja etc.

    7 WicketKeeper – Foster. Do I need to say anything more on this?

  12. marees – interesting stuff. I would argue with only one element – conditions, especially in England, play a big part and they need to be read on the hoof. The best teams switch strategies and know when 130 is a good score and when 180 is a par score. Batting or bowling, those calls are critical.

  13. Totally agree with you. That is why no. 3 & 4 are extremely important batting positions in T20.

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