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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Columns

T20 a simple game, know demand for each delivery
John Wright, Hindustan Times
September 14, 2012
First Published: 00:12 IST(14/9/2012)
Last Updated: 00:15 IST(14/9/2012)

Sport sometimes has a strange way of administering lessons. One example was the T20 match in Chennai on Tuesday. With seven overs remaining, it appeared India would win comfortably. Right then, we all thought we knew who would win and that the players and their coaching groups would return to their hotel to reflect and analyse.

In modern sportspeak, they would then tell everyone they had 'taken some positives out the game and were moving on'. What exactly is moving on?

For a number of us it's just waking up every morning but in sporting terms it seems to cover just about everything. For New Zealand and India, however, the result probably provides a well-timed message prior to the World T20.

Mixed fortunes
For the Kiwis, a win is some welcome confidence and self-belief. For India, a sharp, sudden jolt, and if they are to win this World T20, they cannot afford to take positions of strength for granted. With six overs remaining, India required 44 runs with seven wickets in hand. Yuvi was 21 and Dhoni 3.

Whatever happened next can be put down to any number of factors. Good bowling, poor batting, slow wickets, complacency and so on. For me, it illustrated that in the fast moving nature of T20, everyone at any stage in a match needs to be aware of exactly what his role and objective is for each delivery.

I got the feeling that for the first five overs of the Dhoni-Yuvi partnership, both were batting in a 'collecting' fashion.

The situation demanded one batsman collect and the other attempt to find the boundary with urgency. T20 only has 120 balls. You cannot afford 3 balls, let alone 20-odd to decide upon who has to do what, with bat or ball.  

At his best, a McCullum innings is as good as you can get -all instinct, fast hands and fast feet. Consistency is however his bug-bear. So for him to enter the World T20 with such a performance will be a big boost for his team.

If New Zealand are to win any limited-over World Cup competition, they will need their best two or three batsmen to have outstanding and match-winning tournaments, like Martin Crowe did in the 1992 World Cup.

In Chennai, the real bonus for the Kiwi bowling was James Franklin. In some people's eyes, he has promised much but delivered little. Yet, his bowling in his last four overs was what won the match for New Zealand.

T20 is a simple game: understand the demand of the moment, do the job. And accept that the "positives" after a defeat is just window dressing. Losing merely reveals the mistakes you make.

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