Refreshingly Different


Many highs

There was just one 200-plus total and just one century — two if you include Luke Wright's 99 not out against Afghanistan — in the entire tournament. Sri Lanka showed that a score of 139 could be defended and Ajantha Mendis, with his 6 for 8 against Zimbabwe in the first game, provided an early indication of the tournament's deviation from tradition.

Eight times teams were bowled out inside their quota of overs and the dot balls forced on the batsmen exceeded expectations. Mendis bowled the maximum — 73, or the rough equivalent of twelve maiden overs out of the 24 he delivered in the tournament. His team mate Nuwan Kulasekera bowled 72 dots while Sunil Narine ended with 70.

In some way, the tournament also seemed to narrow the gulf between Test and T20 cricket.

Most games required batsmen to survive and show their skills to negotiate seam as well as spin, and there was little reward for the stand-and-deliver bashing typically associated with T20.

Bowlers check in

The pitches may not have been conducive to tall scores but to imagine that spectators will only thrill to a constant rain of sixes and fours is a myopic view. Low-scoring humdingers can generate the same excitement in the stands, as well as ample suspense and drama.

As a nation, Sri Lanka has predominantly given patronage to batsmen and spin bowlers, but once again, the World T20 proved an exception. The bounce and carry on the pitches took a lot of people by surprise, and seven of the top 10 wicket-takers were fast bowlers.

To begin with, Hambantota, Pallekelle and Colombo lent a lot of help to the fast bowlers, and teams like Australia, England and South Africa used the short ball and pace to cut through the opposition —almost unheard of in the Island.

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