This year’s Champions League has been by far the best of the three played. It has not only enhanced the reputation of the tournament, but also the T20 game in general and that of a couple of talented young batsmen.
The knockout game between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Southern Redbacks had everything you could want in a cricket match, right down to a last-ball six to bring victory.
There have been times when the naysayers have argued the entertainment quotient at a T20 match overshadows the game. That is not an accusation cricket should take lightly, as the dancing girls and DJs will always find another venue to ply their trade.
In addition to the nail-biting contests, the tournament has produced some incredible individual performances.
Considering every sport needs a constant influx of youthful talent, the exceptional batting of David Warner and Virat Kohli has been a very pleasing aspect of the tournament.
With both India and Australia needing to rebuild following devastating losses to England, these two players stand out as players with a future. The first thing selectors look for in a young cricketer is skill and then they want to see consistent performances. The latest back-to-back efforts of Warner and Kohli have been impressive.
In scoring consecutive T20 centuries, Warner has achieved something that was regarded as almost impossible. Having built his international reputation as a hard-hitting T20 batsman, Warner has matured into a highly skilful player who must be given serious consideration for Australian selection in all forms of the game.
Kohli has a lot in common with Warner. He’s made his reputation in the shorter forms of the game and he has an enticing stroke range. The fact that he stayed to see the Royal Challengers home to a place in the final after falling just short of being the ‘finisher’ in his previous knock, is a sign of his maturity. Like Australia, India is crying out for talented young batsmen who can field. Kohli fits that description perfectly and he's making all the right moves to impress knowledgeable selectors.
It would be no surprise to see this pair meet up as opponents again in the near future, only this time it could be representing their respective countries and in a longer form of the game. If players like Warner and Kohli can make the jump from short-form players to genuine international cricketers, it will do even more to enhance the reputation of T20 as a bona-fide game rather than excellent entertainment.
The T20 game is evolving quickly and some of the innovations seen in batting, bowling and fielding make for exciting cricket. What is patently clear when you witness a number of exciting contests like we’ve seen in the Champions League is the game has progressed to the point where it no longer needs gimmicks to attract supporters.