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A review of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20

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Chris Gayle
ICC World T20 Championship 2012 got over. Sri Lanka played a wonderful host. On and off the field, there were not too many controversies that marred this event. People who were in Sri Lanka to witness the World T20 are still raving about the hospitality that was doled out. Even though there were not too many surprises one can write about, ICC World T20 was far from disappointing. We enjoyed it and just thought of recollecting those memories about what happened in Sri Lanka.

Enthusiasm

Although marred by poor attendance at the match venues initially, the numbers improved since Super-Eights stage commenced. There was criticism towards ICC for their indifferent scheduling of the matches. Reality also was that the venues of the games were remote or difficult to reach (read Hambantota). Hence, people chose their TV sets over the stadiums. Sri Lankan venues when filled are a treat for cricket lovers. Thankfully, they did fill up once the group stages and minnow-some matches were done and dusted with. If the Indian grounds can boast of having higher attendance (across all the seasons), then Sri Lankans can take pride for being the West Indies of Asia. People play music, they sing and they dance and while doing so, don’t lose out on the game.

No surprises in the beginning

Cricket is game of surprises…not this time around. Neither of the minnows could spring any surprise. Bangladesh had their usual story where Shakib-al-Hasan played his bit and others did their usual by wasting whatever Shakib had done with bat and ball. Ireland, the perennial party spoilers did not spoil anyone’s party either. Zimbabwe were in the group of Sri Lanka and South Africa. And hence, Zimbabwe bid adieu within a week since the tournament commenced. Afghanistan did play out of their skins against Indians. However, their lack of experience at the highest level of the game and lack of sufficient exposure at international cricket cost them dear. Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Shapoor Zadran impressed everyone with his pace and accuracy; perhaps, the only bright spot from the minnow’s land.

Watson found his mojo and Kallis’s time out in Sri Lanka

He quite literally smashed everyone and topped every chart till the better part of the tournament in most of the categories. 4 consecutive man of the match awards and then the man of the tournament, Watson has well and truly arrived. He surely has taken a giant stride to becoming Australia’s MVP across all the formats.

On the other hand, time is well and truly running out for Jacques Kallis at the International T20s. He looked jaded, out of place and out of form. He picked up 4 wickets in the opening game against the  Zimbabweans. However, post that his bowling took a dip. His batting too was below-par. We cricket fans are not used to the site of Kallis struggling so much at any tournament. May be, the time has come to part  with the shortest version of the game; at least at the International level.

Sub-continental fortunes

Well, some said they were plain unlucky. Captain Dhoni felt rain in the game against the Australians spoiled India’s party and experts around the world thought it was insipid captaincy that cost India a place in the semi-finals. Bottom-line was India were knocked out of the championship race before semi-finals could commence. Bangladesh did nothing to prove their critics wrong. They could not make it to the Super-Eights. Considering they would be hosting ICC World T20 in 2014, they ought to win matches with a lot more consistency. Else, ICC needs to rethink Bangladesh’s status as a Test nation.

Pakistan meanwhile continued their brilliant run at the World T20s. This is the 4th year of the tournament and Pakistan have played in all the semi-finals so far and have won it once. This is an envious record. But they were outplayed in the semi-finals by Sri Lanka. It meant Sri Lanka made it to 4th final at the ICC events in last 5 years. Full marks to their consistency at the shorter formats of the game. But that was not the only trend which they continued. They lost the finals and made it 4 losses out 4. Now, this would be one record they would have loved not to get in touch with.

Hopes remained unfilled

England came into this tournament as defending champions. This time around, they failed to make it to the semi-finals. The Stuart Broad led side did not do much that would please English fans. It seems their game in the sub-continent needs a serious revamp. And yes, by all means they missed Kevin Pietersen’s presence in the squad. He may sometimes be big mouthed and politically incorrect, but when bat in hand, he is a man possessed.

Australia, on the other hand dominated the group and a major chunk of the Super-Eights. For that, they need to thank Shane Watson. He was dominating with the bat and ball. As always Michael Huseey chipped in with runs, so that helped Australia’s cause. Even though they lost the final game of the Super Eights against Pakistan, they still were the side to beat of this tournament. But in the semi-finals, some fatal bowling choices, Gayle-Pollard show & a meek batting display against the West Indies bowling line up meant that their dream to win the ICC World T20 is yet unfulfilled.

New Zealand meanwhile caught themselves in the Super Over mode. This super over stuff does not happen so frequently. But somehow, New Zealand found a way to have it twice in one tournament. Sadly, their flair for Super Over could not extend their run till the Semi-Finals. They lost all three games in Super Eights and had to get back to New Zealand earlier than they would have liked.

South Africa,panicked, remained complacent and eventually, they choked too. South Africa, like at  most ICC events had the strongest and most balanced side. Yet as always they found some way or the other not to win the ICC trophy. This is getting worse for South Africa. Talented, they surely are; but they seem to recollect their history at the wrong time. One more ICC event and an encore for South Africa.

Maan, we have done it maan

Although their entry in the Super-Eights was streaky, they turned it on from there on. Gayle bulldozed the bowling attacks (barring finals), Narine spun the ball, Pollard did his bit in the semi-finals and Samuels finally batted to his potential. He may not seem as damaging as Gayle, but when on song, he has the ability to match Gayle’s brutality with the bat. West Indies was catastrophic in the first 10 overs of the finals against Sri Lanka. But then Samuels took it upon himself to tarnish Malinga’s bowling and his confidence. Their bowling was disciplined and everyone got their share of wickets. They made sure that Sri Lanka succumbed under pressure. Voila! The ICC World T20 Championship 2012 is West Indies’. They played well, enjoyed their time in the middle and maan oh maan those celebrations a la Gangnam style were awesome; reminiscent of their joie de vivre attitude. Wow, they were super-fun on and off the field.




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