Tuesday, July 05, 2005


twenty20 Vision

So I went to the twenty20 game between Warwickshire Bears and Worcestershire Royals on Friday. The game was astonishing - I'd never been to a twenty20 game before, but after Worcestershire pulled a victory out of the bag, after apparently throwing away an apparently unassailable lead, in the driving rain, I must confess I'm hooked.

Warwickshire, who were batting second, required 23 runs of the last over to win. Nadeem Malik bowled a no-ball, and then two dreadful balls which Heath Streak rightly thumped for six. By one ball left, Warwickshire required two, but were run out one run short. Amazing. There was literally something of everything - a dozen sixes, a score or more boundaries, several run-outs, some great bowling, particularly from Streak for Warwickshire and Mason for Worcestershire, and two dropped catches in the rain. I really hope it catches on all over the rest of the world, because I hear all the arguments about it lacking purity and suchforth, but it really is just great fun, and I've never seen Edgbaston so full when England aren't playing.

While on the topic of cricket, what about that final on Saturday? For the second time this year, England take a one-day game that they seem to have lost to the final ball, and pull a draw out of the hat, after the previous occasion against South Africa when Kabir (Kabeer?) Ali bowled the-over-from-hell-that-ascended-to-heaven. This time was even more dramatic, partly because of the occasion, but mostly because of the opposition for nothing, nothing feels as good as pulling a victory from the grasp of the Aussies.

I was doing cartwheels.

Twenty20 is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've been up to Old Trafford for a couple of games, and although I've not seen such amazing endings to games as the mighty Lancashire have stuffed all and sundry with overs to spare (at least, at the games I went to), it's never been dull in any way. It's the future of limited-overs cricket, I'd say - best of three twenty20 games instead of one long drawn-out 50 over game...

And about England vs Australia - I didn't see it, but I was listening to Henry Blofeld getting more and more excited as the afternoon went on on Test Match Special. I'm looking forward to the new rules being put into practice for the one-day series that starts tomorrow... if they'd been applied on Saturday, we could have subsituted Simon Jones and replaced him with Robert Key or Ian Bell for the last few overs and won easily. It'll cause chaos as no-one really understands the new rules or how to use them correctly. I can't wait.

PS: you were right first time, it's Kabir Ali, I think.
Well, Lancashire are kicking up a storm in the league. They were the best qualifier from the group stages, only losing one game, and they're my tip to win the whole thing.

I was the same actually - I didn't see the final, but also took it in on TMS. I really think Henry Blofeld is wonderful - he makes my summer. Few people are that passionate about the game.

I'm not sure about the substitutions - I'm writing this after their first use, but they made little difference - I want to see them make a big change in a game before I cast a judgement call.
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