So, the semis are upon us. I’m hoping to at least catch some of today’s games, either on radio or a pub TV, and I’m gunning for the Pakistanis. As my colleague Osman says, this game really is suited to them. Why? Well, partly due to their experience in the format: tape-ball cricket.
The number of overs isn’t important; matches last from five to 25 overs. There are few rules but the basic ethos of these games, the hustle and the bustle of it, the short, sharp intensity of putting one over the boys from the next lane or mohalla because, well, that’s just what men do, is something Twenty20 comes close to capturing.
Runs are not scored but nicked. A little tap, run; fielder about to throw, steal the second; often the only boundaries are straight because of the narrowness of the field, so running becomes an art in itself. Pakistan’s batting successes against Sri Lanka and Australia were built on cheeky running first and boundary-hitting second.