News24

England in Proteas' boat

2010-05-04 10:25

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Events in the Indian Premier League, with the old bogey of match-fixing raising its head, posed some fresh doubts about the credibility of Twenty20 cricket.

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But the format is under undesired scrutiny for other reasons now, courtesy of a near-farcical finish to the ICC World Twenty20 encounter at Providence, Guyana, on Monday between tournament hosts West Indies and England.

An engrossing, delicately balanced contest was in prospect after England posted a significantly better-than-par total of 191 for five - helped by a high-tempo start from their all-Johannesburg-born opening pair of Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter – and then a certain Chris Gayle signalled his intent as West Indies powered to 30 without loss from 2.2 overs.

Rain, however, then paid the venue an untimely and fairly protracted visit: not too surprising in a tropical country in the midst of its “primary wet season” and already sporting an annual average of up to some 2800mm – that is a lot of brolly time in anyone’s language.

By the time play resumed, after it must have come within a whisker of abandonment, the Windies’ ask had been dramatically reduced by the Duckworth/Lewis method to 60 from six overs. In other words, they needed a mere further 30 runs from 3.4 overs with the entire batting order in hand.

English television commentator David Lloyd rightly mentioned to his West Indian colleague, Ian Bishop, that it ought to be an “absolute doddle” for them.

But “Bumble” is also seldom without humour and when seamer Tim Bresnan, completing the unfinished third over, promptly bowled two dot balls, he raised audible chuckles from his partner when he said: “Right, that’s it, my money’s firmly back on England now.”

It was very tongue-in-cheek … but somehow summed up the extent of the unseemly lottery the game had been reduced to.

One thing is dazzlingly clear: Duckworth/Lewis remains an appropriate method for deciding the terms of weather-affected 50-overs matches, but as a condensing tool for Twenty20 it needs fresh examination, weighted as it so powerfully is in favour of the side batting second.

The one saving grace of the whistle-stop bout of play after the restart was that England fought tooth and nail against the suddenly overwhelming odds, only losing with a ball to spare.

Paul Collingwood, their captain and a very seasoned cricketer, thought impressively on his feet and occasionally made profound field changes even between deliveries to try to unsettle the West Indies batsmen.

And Mike Yardy - the sort of left-arm dibbly-dobbler whom you might imagine trundling 50 overs in a Test innings to quality opposition for a desperately laboured return of one for 170 or thereabouts - did spear in a solitary, commendably wily over where he conceded a mere single to every ball.

That is almost akin to bowling two or three maiden overs on the trot at an advanced stage of a more traditional one-day international, when you think about it.

But the fact remained that West Indies duly did complete the job and now England find themselves in an identical position to South Africa: having to beat minnows (in their case Ireland) at the very same Providence Stadium only some 24 hours after their first-match reverse to stay in the tournament.

The Proteas have to down Afghanistan, not exactly the All Blacks of cricket for allure and tradition, on Wednesday to ensure their own progress to the Super Eights phase.

And I’ll bet my last dollar that both Ireland and Afghanistan will be peering wickedly to the skies on their respective match days, hoping for signs of mounting cumulus clouds and also the opportunity to bat second.

In South Africa’s favour is that their do-or-die fixture will be played at Bridgetown, Barbados, where precipitation is significantly less likely.

But the way some matches can be affected by the elements will only enhance purists’ thoughts that T20 truly is the lightweight, hotdog with mustard of cricket.

For the record, it is already highly unlikely this writer will be joining the know-it-all, rant-and-spit brigade who will doubtless demand nine or 10 players’ heads and those of the coach and his assistants as well should the Proteas fail to bring home the trophy from this event of dubious gravitas.

Unless, perhaps, they are somehow thumped by Afghanistan in circumstances where Messrs Duckworth and Lewis have no say at all …

Sport24

Comments
  • mspr1nt - 2010-05-04 10:35

    Oh, get over yourselves England! Why do you moan about the system when you are on the LOSING side but whenever it's aided you, you couldn't give a hoot? Why is it ok for you to be dirty cheats but but when Windies get lucky the system is so bad. Go cry to Broad's daddy.

  • mspr1nt - 2010-05-04 10:38

    Oh, get over yourselves England! Why do you moan about the system when you are on the LOSING side but whenever it's aided you, you couldn't give a hoot? Why is it ok for you to be dirty cheats but but when Windies get lucky the system is so bad. Go cry to Broad's daddy.

  • BT - 2010-05-04 10:48

    I remember very clearly SA playing England in the Semi Finas of a ODI World Cup many years ago, "22 runs off 1 ball", due to rain, springs to mind. England didn't seem to mind then!!

  • Ben - 2010-05-04 10:51

    Anybody understanding cricket must have circular brains.

  • Carel - 2010-05-04 10:58

    Remember 1992. It was 22 from 1 ball. Semis Proteas v Eng. Kry vir julle pommies.

  • Standing at Point - 2010-05-04 10:59

    rob was in the bar last night with some of the other jounos and heres what they were all talking about...hicup hiccup.. splurt...

  • Adri Smit - 2010-05-04 11:03

    20/20 is a lottery!!!! One batsmen gets lucky and it is all over. Give me real cricket (test cricket) any day.

  • SB - 2010-05-04 11:11

    How much complaining did the Poms do when the rain favoured them in that memorable clash against SA in the 50 over World Cup in Australia some years back??

  • Selma - 2010-05-04 11:13

    5 days - 4 days - 3 days - 1 day - 80 overs - 40 overs. Where will it all end. It is just not cricket.

  • Andre - 2010-05-04 11:18

    Twenty20 cricket is a joke. Hit and giggle is still the most apt description. Applying stats (DL method) to only 180 balls per innings is even more of a joke – statistical sensitivity springs to mind. Every time I watch this formal I get visions of some bollywood "star" with her hands in her mouth trying to look anxious and still having a sideways glance at the cameras. Grow an appendage Collingwood. Phew, I feel much better now...

  • Candace - 2010-05-04 11:22

    Grown men playing schools cricket of twenty overs a side. Instant gratification syndrome. I want it all and I want it now. Too hell with building an innings. This is 'donder die bal' cricket.' Different strokes for different blokes. I am a woman and I do understand the offside rule inh soccer but come hell or high water I do not understand the Duckworth/Lewis system. If there is rain delay why can the team batting second not be set a target, i.e. 120 runs of 16 overs if the first the first team compiled 119 of 16 overs. Stop whining England. If the shoe was on the other foot you would not be complaining.

  • Stephen - 2010-05-04 11:25

    This is a very different situation to the 22 off 1 ball so trying to compare them is ridiculous. Not 1 of these england players were even in that team. The game was basically just over half played.

  • ZeeZee - 2010-05-04 11:26

    Sore loosers England. U screamed and jumped for joy when we needed 22 runs off 1 ball!! This hit 'n giggle version of the game is a joke in any case. Test cricket is a real cricketers and supporters game.

  • Chris - 2010-05-04 11:29

    Collingwood has a valid point. Personally I think 5 overs is ridiculous to constitute a match. If the system isn't working, refine it. It is blatantly obvious from this match that the system isn't working. It's amazing how captain makes a comment based on a system that needs amending and all the morons start getting stuck into the "English" O yes, 22 runs off one ball was not based on D&L! D&L was introduced after matches showed up the flaws in the system. Similar situation here. System needs to be changed! Personally I think extend the number of overs which can constitute a match. How about minimum of 10 overs!

  • Selma - 2010-05-04 11:32

    @ Carel. Don't remind me of that )(*&^%$#@! fiasco. I became an instant Pakistan supporter and fortunately Imran Kahn hoisted the trophy. 20/20 rash and brash and bash cricket. Do bad Shane Warne missed out - I am sure he would have added some spice to the game inspite of the twenty overs.

  • Stav - 2010-05-04 11:35

    Each side should be reduced to 6 players. 3 batsman, 2 bowlers, and 1 wicket keeper.

  • Jaco Greeff - 2010-05-04 11:39

    The D/L scoring system definitely does not work for the T20 form of the game. In a good innings most of the runs come of the last 5 overs and looking at the West Indies vs. England game the D/L method does not work so lekker. Pommies should have won...

  • chris - 2010-05-04 11:45

    Even the Saffies in the team - Lumb, Kieswetter & Pietersen and the Irishman, Morgan, could not save them. With so many Saffies in the team South Africa should be moaning about D/L and not England!

  • Rowan - 2010-05-04 11:45

    I am NOT an England lover at all..... but they do have a point. Those of you who are reminding all about 1992.... Duckworth/Lewis was not around then..... it was that match that brought about the change in the way rain affected matches are treated. Collingwood is winging about the fact that England had to bat WELL for 20 overs, while the West Indies had to really only do it for the remaining 3 odd overs.... with the whole batting line up in tow. and also, they had 2.2 over where there were fielding restrictions (some 45% of their innings). in 2003 we got it wrong ourselves. If this same thing happens to us tomorrow against Afganistan.... I want to see you keeping your trap shut!!! Adri, I agree with you. Its a game for spectators who dont know anything about cricket. give me a proper game to watch

  • Brandon - 2010-05-04 12:03

    What goes around boys... eventually, comes back to bite you. At least this wasn't a semi-final hey?

  • Martin - 2010-05-04 12:05

    Why not have a re-match, maybe 10 overs a side.

  • Rob - 2010-05-04 12:13

    Forget about which team was 'favoured' or lost out. What about the poor spectators who PAY to watch a WHOLE game. There should be 'rain dates' or a continuation on another day. It's not cricket.

  • Helpme - 2010-05-04 12:18

    What is a dibbly-dobbler?

  • Therese - 2010-05-04 12:23

    Although it was hard luck for England, the Windies were scoring at 13.64 runs an over, with no wickets down, the asking rate at the beginning of the innings being 9.55 and the fact that Chris Gayle was still at the wicket, I would say that statistically the score was correct with six overs constituting a match. They eventually had to score at a run rate that was more than it initially was even though before the rain they scored way past that. I think England can't see past the fact that they could actually amass a score like 191 and not win.

  • Brendan - 2010-05-04 12:25

    For pete's sake the anti-English thing is ridiculous. Anyone with half a brain knows that D/L was not in force for that game in 1992 and also that the Poms admitted at the time that it was a farce. Grow up. The comments here sometimes make me ashamed to be a South African

  • Delorean - 2010-05-04 12:33

    The stupidity of this situation is that rain shortening is required for the longer formats of the game (for practical reasons) but has no place in 20/20. The only reason they even have rain shortening in 20/20 is because no-one has applied their mind to the problem; They are just continuing with the status quo. In a situation of intermittent rain there should be a time limit of 6-8 hours to complete both ENTIRE innings otherwise the game should be abandoned. A 50 over game cannot be completed until 20 overs are bowled for a reason. Shortening a 20/20 innings provides a farce not a spectacle. They don't shorten baseball games (which last about as long as 20/20) for rain. They delay the close as long as possible and if the game is not complete by a certain time they call them off.

  • Seonyatseng - 2010-05-04 12:36

    how many SA born players does england have....do we have such a large pool of talented players..that those impatient ust go to England..lol

  • Etienne - 2010-05-04 12:50

    however england can still get through and the artichokes can't

  • T - 2010-05-04 12:51

    In most forms of team sport, England are bad losers. The D/L method is only right when they emerge on the winning side, hmmm. I believe the system to be sport-on, considering that they lost with a ball to spare, and "Chris Gayle signalled his intent as West Indies powered to 30 without loss from 2.2 overs". For me that is absolute and accurate mathematics.

  • Matt - 2010-05-04 12:53

    Sore loosers! I would support any nation over these cry babies

  • Zim-(yes a white one) - 2010-05-04 13:00

    What about Zimbabwe against Sri lanka... Zim batted 2nd & lost on D/L... Has either of those sides bitched & moaned like "Cryingbaby - sorry Collingwood"... Cryingbaby you have lost all my respect & enhanced what a bunch of 'sore losers' you English fannies are (a fanny is useful so rather you English turds)... D/L is not perfect but the best we have at the moment & does need to be looked at... but ALL TEAMS came into the tournamnet with the same odds as far as D/L is concerned... so live with it & get on you stupid so & so, dwithering, blithering whimp...

  • cammie - 2010-05-04 13:00

    Regardless of what system was used in 1992 or is currently being used, the result remains that England lost. Just as they and their supporters had little or no sympathy for the then minnows team South Africa (1992), so too do many Saffies who clearly remember that night down under!! Typical English though - when it works in their favour it's wonderful, when it works against them it's grossly unfair!

  • Zim-(yes a white one) - 2010-05-04 13:01

    What about Zimbabwe against Sri lanka... Zim batted 2nd & lost on D/L... Has either of those sides bitched & moaned like "Cryingbaby - sorry Collingwood"... Cryingbaby you have lost all my respect & enhanced what a bunch of 'sore losers' you English fannies are (a fanny is useful so rather you English turds)... D/L is not perfect but the best we have at the moment & does need to be looked at... but ALL TEAMS came into the tournamnet with the same odds as far as D/L is concerned... so live with it & get on you stupid so & so, dwithering, blithering whimp...

  • L M - 2010-05-04 13:15

    England no need to cry. Better luck next time. What goes around come around.

  • James - 2010-05-04 13:35

    Burp, fart T 20 what a lot of horse manure

  • Oraclebob@Zim - 2010-05-04 13:44

    pffft. If Zim had made even a half-hearted effort at getting a good run-start they could have won that game easily. They only had themselves to blame for not having a shot at winning a game that any other half-decent side would have made mincemeat of given the obvious weather conditions.

  • Oraclebob@Zim - 2010-05-04 13:45

    pffft. If Zim had made even a half-hearted effort at getting a good run-start they could have won that game easily. They only had themselves to blame for not having a shot at winning a game that any other half-decent side would have made mincemeat of given the obvious weather conditions.

  • Oraclebob@Zim - 2010-05-04 14:00

    pffft. If Zim had made even a half-hearted effort at getting a good run-start they could have won that game easily. They only had themselves to blame for not having a shot at winning a game that any other half-decent side would have made mincemeat of given the obvious weather conditions.

  • ACEE - 2010-05-04 14:03

    GET RID OF T20 INTERNATIONALS, IT IS NOT CRICKET. KEEP IT LIMITED TO I.P.L. WITH ALL THE CORRUPTION.

  • Alibaba - 2010-05-05 09:56

    Oh who cares, it's not real cricket in any case, it's a damn lottery.

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