New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 1 ball and 2 wickets

West Indies beat Ireland by 70 runs

Three things came up as significant today

1. Ground Conditions: Slow pitches, slightly sluggish outfield, large dimensions (at least at Providence) queers the pitch towards the slower bowlers and the spinners. In fact the worst bowlers in the SLA v NZL match were the two fast bowlers Bond and Malinga. So we are likely to have

  • Low scoring games i.e. 130 – 150 range
  • More and more teams starting their bowling with a spinner
  • Dibbly Dobbly bowlers will have their places in the team assured

It’s not as if sixes and fours are not possible. Darren Sammy and Jesse Ryder showed it is possible. Obviously, the hitting has to be done with a touch more effort than normal. Bad balls of course help as it did Sammy.

2. Classic batting: Mahela Jayawardene showed the value of class. Though he ended up in the losing side, his innings was evidence that T20 is not just slam bang stuff. Considering his partner Dilshan (3 of 19) was completely off the grid, the run rate of 6+ in the first 6 overs tells you how much Mahela contributed, without a single slog.

It also tells me that Gautam Gambhir is likely to be a key batsman for India. Technically and temperamentally, he is the best in the current Indian line-up and ideal for this kind of hybrid of aggression and attrition. The other players will have to bat around him with their 2 over blasts. After Gambhir, Dhoni has the right ability for this kind of innings but he would be coming too late in the order to be effective.

3. Fielding standards: From the crap in IPL, there’s a sea change in fielding standards, especially catching. Darren Sammy seemed to have Spiderman’s web shooters stretching out and catching everything. So that’s a big change

Watching on television, one discovered a lost art of commentary – silence. Commentators actually shut up for minutes letting the TV audience watch the game intently. And the topics of discussion were shots, strategies, form, players – not blimps, forefronts of technology, carbon kamals, certain individuals, sweat equity, etc.

Today big day for Afghanistan. Like Eliza Doolittle making her first presence in high society, the boys from Kabul enter the world stage playing their spiritual neighbours India. They promise a surprise.

In fact it is a complete sub-continent / South Asia day in West Indies. Pakistan play Bangladesh in the next match.

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