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Monday, March 14, 2016

How short a T20 International can be ?

In Feb 1998, after the third ball of the match flew off a length past the England captain's nose, one alleged sage turned to his neighbour in the press box and whispered: Well, we can rule out a draw, that's for sure. This was proved wrong with astonishing rapidity. After just 56 minutes' cricket, the contest - which enthusiasts had been looking forward to with relish for months - was called off in sensational and, at this level, unprecedented circumstances because the umpires considered the pitch to be dangerous. Sixty-one balls (and a no-ball) were bowled in that time, and the England physio Wayne Morton came on to the field six times to attend batsmen who had suffered direct hits from Ambrose and Walsh.  It was the match abandoned in Jamaica.

The shortest Test, in terms of balls bowled, that had a definite result came in the final Test of the 1931-32 series at Melbourne, when Australia (153) beat South Africa (36 and 45) by an innings and 72 runs. That match lasted only 656 balls.

At rainy Dharamshala, Tamim Iqbal creamed the Oman bowlers to score Bangladesh's maiden T20 international century and secure his team's berth in the main draw of the tournament. His hundred set up a total of 180 for 2.  Oman, who were flying high after a victory against Ireland, were shackled to 65 for 9 in 12 overs. The match was interrupted twice by rain and Oman's target was revised to 120 in 12 overs. They effectively needed 75 off 22 balls after the second break !

In the earlier otherwise useless match, Ireland's faith in themselves as the leading nation among cricket's cold-shouldered fraternity was dented when they lost to the Netherlands.  Chasing 60 in 6 overs, Ireland fell short in match of 72 balls.   

~ and that takes us to the Q, how short a match can be – is 6 overs game right and fair for bowlers, albeit not many runs were scored.  If it is going to be mere 36 balls, why not restrict the wickets and say only 5 wickets ! -  on an earlier occasion in Jun 2009, New Zealand beat Scotland at Oval in a match that lasted 78 deliveries.

So the ICC T20 WC 2016 is becoming more interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

14th Mar 2016.

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