India arrive home

A quiet and dignified welcome by Mumbai to India’s World Twenty20 winning team. An understated reaction as ever.

More people

Even more people…

Cars and more, more, more people

Rest in peace, 50-over cricket?

Today’s match, the final of the World Twenty20, was a real cracker; a low-scoring thriller decided in the final over. A fitting finale (if not tribute) to the tournament, some are saying. And I dread to think of India’s reaction to it all. “The greatest day in Indian cricket history!” will be a penned as a headline, somewhere, on a newspaper, website, blog or city wall shortly I’m sure.

But hang on a minute. Is this tournament a viable replacement, as many advocate it should be, to 50-over cricket, a format that has been in place for 45 years? Are we not shortening the games for shortening’s sake?

One-dayers began as 65 overs. Then they were reduced to 60; cut to 50; snipped to 40; bolstered to 45 before levelling off at 50. Until the ECB, panicking at a decline in gate receipts, thought they’d try something new and they cut the whole thing in half again.

Twenty20 appears to have re-energised an ageing format (and game), and so it has. But how long before this too becomes stale and we watch hour-long Ten10 games?

My hunch is that we’re a few years away from Twenty20 becoming the dominant one-day format, but I’m sure it’ll happen. It’s fun, it’s new and different but it’s still one-day cricket and, thus, it sucks rather a lot. As long as they leave Tests well alone; in fact I think Inzamam-ul-Haq wants them extended to six days! Much, much more like it.

Your thoughts please.

ICC World Twenty20 Final: India v Pakistan

So, the final is upon us, and it is the dream one for the ICC- India vs Pakistan. The success of both teams in this tournament will do more then anything to popularise this form of the game. There’s no doubt we shall be seeing a lot more of it in the years to come- a fact that must engender mixed feelings in the players as well as more traditionally minded fans.

Both India and Pakistan have made it to the final thanks largely to the efforts of some of their less heralded players; the new format has given a new lease of life to some fringe players too. The final will add the weight of expectations to the players, which I hope will not dampen the freedom with which they play.

I saw the group game that took place in Durban between the two sides, that ended in a tie, with India winning the subsequent bowl-out. I think the final will not be quite as close but at this stage, I cannot pick a winner. Although given that it is being played at Johannesburg, traditionally favouring the chasing side, the toss might be as crucial a factor as anything else.

Keep an eye on Cricinfo’s scorecard, and leave your thoughts on the match in the comments below.

Twenty20 video highlights: Yuvraj Singh goes bonkers, again

Some highlights for those who haven’t seen them of Yuvraj going a trifle berserk against Australia in the second semi-final. 70 from 30 balls! What game is this?

Click here if you can’t see the mayhem. It’s really quite massive.

World Twenty20 semi-finals

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.

They face New Zealand in the first match (scorecard), followed by Australia and India (scorecard) later in the day. So keep an eye on the scorecards and offer your thoughts as the matches unfold.

Bunch of choking bottlers

South Africa really are a most monumental, unabashed, incomparable Eddie[1] of winning bottlers ever conceived. You have to laugh, really. I’m assuming they’ve lost, having only just been informed by a surprisingly demure text message which read: the boks have done it again.

Bless ‘em.

[1] My suggestion for the collective noun of losers: an Eddie (the Eagle) of losers

Video highlights of Yuvraj Singh’s filthy six sixes

Filthy, disgustingly massive sixes these. Just have a look how far they go.

Gluttons for punishment who can’t see the above video should click here. Furthermore, read Cricinfo’s comms of his innings.

Sri Lanka crumble

Sri Lanka crumble. Sounds like a tempting pudding, that. They’re 80 for 7, Australia running through them like maniacs. Are they suddenly up for this match? Seems so. I’m not watching, but might force my German friends to listen to it on TMS later. Jawohl!

Cricinfo’s steaming-hot comms is here.

Video of India’s bowl-out against Pakistan

For those who missed it, like me, here’s the video of India’s bowl-out in the World Twenty20 against Pakistan. Cricinfo’s comms is useful too.