Underwhelmed by CLT20′s First 5
The first weekend of CLT20 matches came and went with little reason to watch. Jarrod Potter yawns his way through the lacklustre start to CLT20.
Let’s be fair, the only match that has relatively been interesting so far was between Lions and South Australia. Good, fierce batting from both teams and fielding/bowling that is trying to compensate for the flourishes from the opposition. Michael Klinger (still Victorian to us, True Allrounder never dropped you) played a stellar knock of 78, with great support from Callum Ferguson’s 47 as part of a 97 run partnership. In response Alviro Petersen was one solid partnership away from taking the game away from the Redbacks. The fireworks provided by Robert Frylinck’s whalloping sixes kept me glued to the television up until the last ball. That was a match you could recommend to a non-cricket loving friend (if such a thing exists) and will instantly hook them into T20 for life.
The other four matches besides that to date have been unbearable to watch. It might be hypercritical of me, seeing as Lions beat Mumbai with an unbelievable upset, but the abject failure of Mumbai was just as disappointing as the thumpings doled out to Centrals and Guyana. Not to detract from great batting by Vandiar and McKenzie, who both delivered crucial fifties, but that batting order of Mumbai should be able to chase any total on any pitch. Pollard and Duminy fell along with the chances of Mumbai. Was not a match they could afford to lose, as it places Mumbai behind Lions and South Australia on NRR, which won’t be good enough to get it into the Semi-Finals.
The lack of the Wayamba vs Warriors match to live up to anything more than a warm up for the Warriors was excruciating to watch. (The first few overs that is, once Jayawardene and Mubarak went out, I went to sleep.) Rusty Theron showed class beyond the measure of that game, 3-23 being figures that your usual T20 performers cannot attain. Then the Warriors batsmen chased down the total without any difficultly; they could’ve easily stepped on the gas and made 200 if they were batting first. The inclusion of Nicky Boje and Johan Botha shows how up to date the Warriors are; love the idea of double spin in Twenty20. Wayamba on the other hand have little to smile about and a lot of work to do to make any dent on a Semi-Finals berth. Good fifty from Kulatunga and proper short-form bowling by Mendis and Herath aside, the other 8 players need to step up. Jayawardene won’t lie fallow for long you would think, so a lot of this revival rests on him.
Sandru was ultra-kind to the Centrals in his CLT20 preview series. The lack of Taylor and Oram meant that Centrals were always going to be searching desperately for runs and wickets from unlikely sources. It showed when Chennai decided to destroy the Centrals by any means available. Besides the early wickets of Hayden and Raina, there was nothing for the Centrals to cheer about. One of the most star-studded teams easily accounted for the most home-brand team in a textbook display of what money can do in international cricket. That isn’t up for debate, but the inclusion of an insipid New Zealand team over far better performers from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe makes you wonder what direction the bigwigs at the BCCI are trying to usher the tournament towards.
The inclusion of Guyana over Trinidad and Tobago has ruined one of the better stories from last year and helped superpower Mumbai beyond what is reasonable. Guyana did defeat T&T outright in their semi-final, so I can’t be too judgemental because of that, but it still leaves a raw taste in my mouth that Guyana are going to receive three more beltings when T&T would’ve been a contender for the title. When your captain, in Ramnaresh Sarwan, gets his national contract ripped up for being fat and unfit, you know you’re grasping at straws from the get go. It showed last night when Bangalore (minus its true whallopers in Pietersen and Morgan due to Lalit’s last international tantrum) put on an absolute clinic. Guyana were never in it against the Royal Challengers and I doubt they’ll be in position to win any match during the rest of the tournament. Jacques Kallis, a stolen man for the IPL, showed he is still one of the best proponents of all-round cricket. Add to that some unplayable bowling from Steyn and miserly, restricting bowling at its finest by Kumble and you’re left wondering why Guyana bothered showing up at all. There was nothing redeeming for Guyana as they were knocked about the park. The fact that Bangalore now have a +3.445 net run rate show how little resistance Guyana put up.
Thankfully some cracking matches are coming up over the next few days. Victoria vs Warriors and Mumbai v South Australia will hopefully live up to something more than the cakewalks presented above. Time to show why our Champion’s League is relevant in a global sporting context.
Editor of the True Allrounder