The beat was crawling, the cheerleaders were yawning and the fireworks were being saved for another night. So, what is it with the cricket-mad Delhi crowd? Have they fallen out of love with T20s? Or are they just not bothered?
Whatever the reason, watching the Kotla play host to the Victoria Bushrangers and Wayamba XIs with barely a few hundreds in attendance wasn’t the best advertisement for the shortest format of the game.
As for the action in the middle, the powerful Victoria batting line-up faded somewhere in the night, failing to chase 119 as Wayamba won by 15 runs. Tuesday’s fumble, however, didn’t stop the Bushrangers from making it to the league stage.
Hard luck for Wayamba — despite no fireworks from the willows of Cameron White, Aiden Blizzard and David Hussey — they will be going home. These Aussie stars failed to elevate the run chase and credit must be given to the way they bowled.
The Wayamba bowlers suffocated the likes of David Hussey (7 off 22) and Cameron White (11 off 20) with their disciplined line and length. The experienced Brad Hodge scored a well-paced 44 off 52 balls.
The Sri Lankans started with a bang. In the very first over, a shocked Rob Quiney was slowly walking back after being brilliantly caught and bowled by pacer Chanaka Welegedara. Welegedara was on fire again, getting the wicket of Aiden Blizzard in similar fashion.
At one stage, even the 118 Wayamba got to seemed unlikely especially after they managed only 16 runs in the first six overs. After losing Mahela Udawatte in the second over — caught plumb in front by Peter Siddle — Michael Vandort and Jeeevantha Kulatunga steadied the Wayamba ship. Vandort (42 off 44) hit some big shots once the spinners were brought into the attack and together the two batsmen took Wayamba’s score to 85 for one in 14. It was Kulatunga’s 41 off 39 that took Wayamba to the eventual total.
Just when things looked in cruise control for Wayamba, Clint McKay did the trick for the Bushrangers removing both the batsmen in the same over.