Minnows, do we need them?

2007-09-19 09:28

Arthur Turner

South Africa are on course to reach the Twenty20 World Championship final at the Wanderers on Monday thanks to their plethora of dynamic all-rounders who've added batting depth and plenty of bowling options to the line-up, a recipe for success in the T20 format.

At this stage it appears South Africa could play Australia in the one semi-final and Pakistan may play New Zealand in the other.

The group stages produced the expected results with only the odd upset recorded.

Zimbabwe's defeat of Australia was the biggest shock while Bangladesh's victory over the West Indies heaped more misery on the men from the Caribbean.

Scotland and Kenya were totally out of their depth, especially Kenya whose bowlers against Sri Lanka conceded the highest ever score (260) and in the same match were also bowled out for the lowest ever score (88) in T20 cricket.

The question arises, do the "minnows" add value to a global event or detract from it?

My views are well documented that they undermine the integrity of international cricket and I still hold that view.

Innovative

The group stage also saw two firsts for T20 cricket with Chris Gayle's 57-ball century against South Africa at the Wanderers and Brett Lee's hat-trick against Bangladesh at Newlands. Both were special achievements.

The bowl-out at Kingsmead between Pakistan and India was also a first. My feelings are that a mechanism to break a deadlock is innovative but that the bowl-out did not work and was inappropriate for a group stage match.

If two teams play well in a match that is not sudden death game, why not let them share the points? There is already a net run rate formula in place to separate the teams on the log if both teams earn the same number of points.

The mechanism to break a deadlock situation should only be used in sudden death games like semi-finals and finals.

The bowl-out in itself was a farce as we saw pace bowlers bowling off five paces to give them the best opportunity to hit the wickets. I think extra-time in the form of an extra two overs per team would be better suited in a deadlock situation. This would be fairer to the two teams, great entertainment for the crowd and television audience.

The bowl-out idea obviously originates from soccer's penalty shoot-out, however, the penalties in soccer are the last option if the scores are still level after extra-time.

Twenty20 fever has hit South Africa and may it continue till Graeme Smith lifts the trophy at the Wanderers on Monday.

  • Arthur is a former cricket administrator.

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