World T20 Qualifiers - Notes in Review
- Lots of teams and lots of games per day creates a festival atmosphere that (from afar) makes this tournament more like a world cup than the world cup proper. The advantage of simultaneous games is the ability to switch attention to a better one if something is happening, and the creation of a much tighter (too tight) tournament format. QuipuTV did a great job of switching between the adjacent grounds and relaying scores to keep track when so much was going on.
- Namibia's last two games were as disappointing as their first two were impressive. Namibia's bowling lacks menace; against both Afghanistan and Ireland they struggled to get bowlers with decent pace away for singles, lost early wickets and put up weak scores. (Note that, in their win over Ireland, they exploded against Dockrell in the first 6 overs then stuttered). They badly need a decent quick of their own, not just to take wickets, but to practice against. As many teams ave discovered in cricket, practice in a match against good bowlers is invariably very very short.
- Namibia also provide a useful barometer of whether a commentator has the slightest knowledge of associate cricket. Peter Della Penna, and the very under-rated Canadian World Cricket Weekly Talk both identified them as big threats (as did my ratings). The ESPNStar commentators somehow managed to be unapologeticaly condescending by displaying their own ignorance; and Switch Hit - whose teams to watch included the non-qualified UAE - were obviously surprised.
- Ireland's big wins through the playoffs seems to have restored their reputation as a dominant associate team. They are very good; no other associate could survive losing batsmen of the quality of Porterfield or O'Brien for golden ducks and still score freely. Their depth in both disciplines - particularly Rankin who was the dominant bowler of the tournament - means they are almost always competitive at every level. They weren't dominant throughout the tournament however, particularly early on. Moreover, it is a farce to suggest they need to be dominant in order to become a test team; all the associates are improving their cricket. For Ireland to be a dominant - nearly unbeatable - team at associate level means being a lot better than Afghanistan, who'd match Bangladesh in the right conditions - and therefore the 7th or 8th best team in the world. But then, the structure of test cricket is a farce.
- Afghanistan fairly cruised through the tournament, but lost a tense and tightly fought final. The easier group helped (or perhaps not, the final standings make it look the more difficult), but like Ireland, having the depth to call on Dawlat Zadran to step up in the absence of Hamid Hassan shows why they are a step above.
- One other area Ireland are well in front is the depth of home interest. The twitter list I gave consists almost entirely of journalists and bloggers - their qualifying game trended heavily in Dublin, they got local tv coverage of games, and decent news coverage. Some of the Asian teams come close (Nepal and Afghanistan specifically); Canada is doing a lot to build that interest too, which bodes well for them.
- On that, although breaking through in big markets will be much more lucrative, it is probably much easier to make an impact in a small one, where having the team competing on the world stage is a much more significant achievement.
- Much has been made of Kenya's decline, but they still performed at a slightly higher level than the teams that finished ahead of them according to the ratings. Nevertheless, credit to Nepal and PNG for finishing 7th and 8th. The former might finally be translating impressive youth performances into senior results.
- Rod Lyall already noted it, but it is worth repeating; the first class ex-pat players were good, but not dominant figures in the tournament. The top run scorers includes a huge list of players in their early 20s (van Schoor, van der Westhuizen, Atkinson, Irfan Ahmed, Stirling, MacLeod, Berrington, Obanda, Gunasakera and Khadka) all (I believe) products of the local system. A team can no longer expect to rise to the top of associate cricket with ex-pat players below first-class level. The best teams are better than that, and we've probably seen the last of ex-pat heavy sides in the World Cup - except England, obviously.
26th March, 2012 08:05:39
World T20 Qualifiers - Notes in Review
Great job!!Some interesting points have been highlighted here, especially the one with the commentators. I wonder why major networks like Sky, Channel 9 or ESPNStar don't get guys like Peter Della Penna,Tim Brooks, etc. to commentate on games involving Associates in the World cups
Sam Edwards 5th April, 2012 16:04:06