T20 cricket is brilliant. Look at this guy above, he got a ball to the face but he also got a wicket by run out. So he is winning.
If you’re still not convinced, did you see the amazing scenes on Sunday at the final of the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup in India contested by England and The West Indies? *Spoilers* It went down to the last over and the ‘Windies’ needed 19 runs from these final six balls. The fairly unknown Carlos Brathwaite only needs four to become a hero.
The final over as it happened:
- BANG – hit for six runs. 13 to get.
- BANG – an even bigger sixer. 7 runs to win.
- BANG – another six. Incredible scenes. The game is tied and West Indies need just one run to win.
- BANG – a fourth six in a row to make it 24 runs off 4 balls!
The West Indies won the T20 World Cup in the most extraordinary of circumstances. England are distraught after coming so close to a second World Cup win. The nation mourns yet another sporting defeat… But should anyone be too disappointed with the way the game finished? Could the manner of England’s defeat actually be a good thing for the game? In any event, England’s fans should be proud of the team’s glorious failure, especially as nobody thought they could make it as far as the final anyway.
Twenty20 cricket is designed to be a quicker more exciting version of the game. You’re not supposed to take it too seriously, but we do. Each team gets 20 overs to hit as many runs as they can. The team with the most runs, wins. It’s packaged a bit like baseball. The tournaments have fancy logos, there’s music played between overs, when a score is made or a wicket taken, and the teams play in colourful kits. The wickets even light up when the bails get knocked off and games last for hours rather than days. Some of the club tournaments such as the Australian Big Bash or the Indian IPL are very lucrative and attract the biggest names to play in them. In England, we have the T20 Blast and the traditional county teams often use a different name to help spice things up like they do in American Major League Baseball. We have the Bears, the Jets, the Spitfires, the Falcons, the Outlaws, the Sharks and the Rapids to name just a few. It’s a very simple form of what is a wonderfully complicated sport. It’s aimed at a younger audience and is fast becoming the most popular form of the game around the world. Even the Americans are starting to get interested after a series of exhibition games played in the last few months between teams captained by legends Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne.
What happened in the T20 Final on Sunday is a perfect illustration of why T20 is brilliant. It was hosted by India, the home of the premier T20 tournament, the IPL, and the game was between England, the founders and spiritual guardians of the game, and the West Indies, who have always been a flamboyant team that has given us the likes of Curtly Ambrose and Brian Lara. Needing 19 runs from the last over looked a daunting task. The fact that Brathwaite hit 24 runs off 4 balls is incredible and something that would never happen in Test Cricket. As much as it hurt to lose a final, you had to admire how the Windies won it. It was exciting, gripping stuff. I wonder how many people around the world tuned in to see this final or have since watched the drama back and are now fast becoming converted to the game. Losing in this fashion could actually be a good thing for the game as it shows how exciting it can be and attract an even greater audience.
And anyway, at least England can claim to be the best team in the world at T19 cricket.
Our local T20 Bash side are the Birmingham Bears who play at Edgbaston near Birmingham city centre. I definitely encourage anyone interested to go along and check it out.