Stars & disasters
This World T20 has been a roller coaster ride. The 16 days of intense cricket have had their fair share of drama, joy, upsets and controversy. Arjun Sen looks at the highs and rock-bottom moments.cricket Updated: Jun 21, 2009 23:29 IST
Under siege for a failed campaign in England, Gayle transformed the team into performers. In the end, he waged a lone battle as others failed to rise to the occasion.
No bowler has been able to consistently send down yorkers like Gul. He has been the engine that has powered Pakistan’s consistent progress in this tournament.
The little known all-rounder’s acrobatic save on the boundary ropes showed rare presence of mind, and his
three-wicket burst made the semis a no contest.
He came as a hero and left with Indian fans heaping abuse on him. The runs dried up and big hits didn’t come through. Easily the lowest ebb in his captaincy career.
Lee got a lesson in how pace is not everything. The quicker he bowled, the further the ball disappeared. Now he isn’t sure of his place in the starting XI for the Ashes.
Broad dug his own grave in this World Cup. At the most crucial moments, he failed to hit the stumps from close quarters, fluffing his lines and costing his team games.
The last World T20 in South Africa kicked off with Chris Gayle scoring a blitzkrieg of a century against the hosts. This time, though not in the first game of the tournament, the Windies captain made a pretty much similar start to his campaign. Tearing in to the Australian attack, Gayle scored 88 off just 50 balls, batting only the way he can!
The minnows rise: It's fast on its way to becoming the norm, rather than the aberration in big tournaments. It is almost as if every time one of these ICC events come around, one of the also-rans suddenly decides to announce their arrival. In England, it was the turn of Ireland and The Netherlands to get one over their illustrious opponents. It's fun while it lasts.
Pakistan: For a country fast sliding into an all out war, Pakistan sure have defied the odds to reach the final. Unpredictable and at times, even unlucky, Pakistan have their proverbial shot at redemption after folding in the last final against India.
Dilscoop: If rumour is to be believed, Sri Lankans of shapes and sizes are clamouring to patent the word and even adding it to the English dictionary. Only time will tell whether that happens or not. But what is certain is that Tillakaratne Dilshan's audacious scoop over the wicketkeeper's head was one of the talking points of the tournament.
Indian women: It was perhaps symptomatic of Indian women’s cricket when about three-odd journalists turned up for the press conference after their loss to New Zealand in the semifinal in the same room that was teeming with hacks a day ahead of the game. The Indian women might be living in the shadow of the men, but that did not stop Jhulan Goswami’s girls from reaching the semifinals even as the men crashed out.
India: They arrived in England with the aura of being invincible. The Indian Premier League, it was said, had primed Dhoni and his men for their title defence. India, it was believed, was the best T20 team in the world and would have to mess it up real bad to not win here. That is exactly what they did. And what a mess it was — whether on field or off it, India couldn’t seem to do anything right.
Australia: Australia have never won a World T20. Agreed that this tournament is new, but for the normally all-conquering Aussies, no titles in two World Cups is nothing short of calamitous. It will be a long, tough English summer for the Baggy Greens and the first-round knockout from this tournament would not have exactly covered the players in glory back home.
Interest levels: T20 cricket, it was said not too long ago, was the new opiate of the masses. Cricket's method of clawing back on the popularity charts in England that have football dominating. Well, if that was the idea, then the World T20 did not quite achieve it. The games may well have been sold out, but the people watching were largely the Asians.
Chokers: One suspects that even when South Africa finally win a World Cup - and it could take some time coming - the tag of chokers might not leave them too easily. Fast assuming the shape of a team built for the semifinals, South Africa, irrespective of the opposition, somehow always contrive to fall ahead of the finals. It was the same tale here too.
Pullouts: Virender Sehwag, Andrew Symonds and Andrew Flintoff — three players who’d walk in to most T20 teams were not involved in the World T20. While Sehwag and Flintoff had to pull out because of injury, it was Symonds’s love for lager that ended his English adventure, and possibly, his career prematurely.