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June 16, 2009

Twenty20 World Cup 2009

Why lose overs under lights?

Kamran Abbasi



This ICC World Twenty20 has been a fabulous tournament. A predictable view, you might say, from somebody following Pakistan cricket but when cricket creates a buzz it doesn't matter who is playing or succeeding.

I write this on behalf of England fans at The Oval for the Super Eights match on Monday. I was in the crowd to enjoy the unique spectacle of England and Pakistan playing on the same day but against different opposition. Delight at Pakistan's progress was tempered by the manner of England's defeat. In fact, you woz robbed.

Paul Collingwood should have paid attention to the weather forecast and batted second. But the rain interruptions were cruel to England since the revised target favoured Chris Gayle's cultured sloggers. England were admirable in their passion to stay in the tournament but a packed house at The Oval deserved better.

International cricket administrators must decide who the game is for? Supporters were drenched twice but still committed to watching West Indies bat 20 overs, which was possible as conditions remained fine well after the match finished.

Floodlights don't run out of energy at 9pm. Public transport keeps running and the roads remain open. Spectators don't need to rush home, brush their teeth, and slip under the bedsheets.

Why, then, is the artificially imposed cut-off point for the end of a game so early? It makes it more likely that overs are lost. These are the rules of the competition but why are they the rules?

A Twenty20 game is so brief that every attempt must be made to ensure a full match. Anything else is unfair on the players and the spectators, especially in such a short game of cricket.

The Duckworth-Lewis method already exists to decide on a result if bad weather forces an abandonment. Why do we require a second system for revising a target if rain interrupts a match rather than prematurely ends it?

With ten wickets in hand, West Indies were gifted a favourable target which they almost made a mess of. Paul Collingwood's team must have been fuming, deprived of a proper contest. Spectators were deflated and, after all, cricket is for them and not for television executives and prime-time schedulers.

Can the ICC fix this one before next year's tournament?

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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Arvind on (June 20, 2009, 12:39 GMT)

Q. Why lose overs under the lights? A. Because the ICC is stupid, that's why.

What about the 1992 WC Semifinal? As I have said several times before, the heaven would not have collapsed if they had carried on for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Posted by Hussain on (June 17, 2009, 20:37 GMT)

Wow. I had a chat about this with colleagues the other day. I so agree that England was robbed that evening. If overs are reduced, runs are reduced, then why shouldn't the wickets be reduced? Had West Indies known they needed 160 runs in 20 overs, would they have been comfortable with a score of 80 with 5 wickets down at the end of 9 over? I doubt that. So often in this tournament, the first few over have been great for the side batting second, yet, they lose the match. The recent match between India and South Africa is one example. Had the target been 70 runs in 8 overs with ten wickets in hand, wouldn't the likes of Gambhir,Sharma and Yuvraj finish the job? They lost most of their wickets after 10 overs. And as you mentioned, why wouldn't the spectatots want to see a full match. It makes sense to reduce a one day international because obviously people can't be kept at the stadium for another 4 hours after the match has been delayed for some time. When will common sense prevail?

Posted by faisal on (June 17, 2009, 20:14 GMT)

some people above made some points that the rules were made well before the game starts. my bro thats what we are taking about that they are wrong they are unfair so icc needs to look at it. Rules are unfair with the team batting second, why.. spose the team bating first batted 20 overs and they made 100 runs now rain occured and match was reduced for 8 overs and 70 runs to chase now team bating second knows that they have 10 wickets in hand if they lose 4 wickts in 4 overs they can still take risk to make runs why coz they know their are just 4 overs remaing and they still have 6 wickts in hand but on the other hand if you lose 4 wickts in first 4 overs and you still have to paly remaing 16 overs i bet team would be curefull they would not take risk why if they lose 2 more wickts who is gonna play remaing 16 overs so that is why its not fair. i think 20/20 format is so short that it should be completed both team with 20 overs what so ever

Posted by Kamran on (June 17, 2009, 20:10 GMT)

There has to be a cut off date because of the live telecast on TV. The world does not revolve around cricket. How will you feel if your favorite football match was not telecasted, instead a live game of cricket is telecasted instead which has overrun its time slot.

I am very surprised at the complete lack of understanding on this subject on the authors part.

Posted by bob on (June 17, 2009, 16:34 GMT)

i dont understand it either. a match of this importance should never be cut short nor should it be cut short like the 2007 world cup final between australia and sri lanka...seriously 38 over each for the world cup FINAL?? In baseballs championship game in october one of the games was delayed by rain for 2 days but they wouldnt call the game off (when technically they could have if they followed the rule books). After the 2 days of rain they picked up where the game left off. this really does frustrate me. They need to get rid of the duckworth lewis method for both 20 and 50 over matches because it is just ridiculous

Posted by Adam on (June 17, 2009, 16:24 GMT)

The West Indies have the 'best batting lineup in the tournament'.Are you joking Ujjwal? Better than SA? They do have the lineup most likely to crack under pressure though. Also, it would not be an inability to follow schedule, but a conscious decision to give fans a full game like they deserve, rather than it being cut short and being followed by Sky Sports Classics...

Posted by saad on (June 17, 2009, 16:20 GMT)

The Duckworth and Lewis method has a huge flaw in it, i.e. it doesn't take into account wickets. Windies had the luxury of chasing almost half of England's total with 10 wickets in hand. Windies should have been given the same target of 80 odd runs with the commensurate number of wickets (5-6), not the full quota of 10 wickets.

Posted by Adam on (June 17, 2009, 16:13 GMT)

The West Indies have the 'best batting lineup in the tournament'.Are you joking Ujjwal? Better than SA? They do have the lineup most likely to crack under pressure though. Also, it would not be an inability to follow schedule, but a conscious decision to give fans a full game like they deserve, rather than it being cut short and being followed by Sky Sports Classics...

Posted by Altamash on (June 17, 2009, 15:58 GMT)

I don't know which match Kamran Abbasi was watching but it was not the sloggers, who won the match, it was the classy duo of Chanderpaul and Sarwan who took their team to the victory, which emphasizes the fact that, no matter what the situation runs are scored by putting bat to ball and not by slogging blindly. This is the reason why Chanderpaul is West Indies' most successful batsman in T20 and not Chris Gayle(who is the most feared West Indian batsman)

Coming to the match England were a bit unfortunate but they shouldn't complain because these things happen in cricket. I don't remember any Englishmen complaining in 1992 World Cup semi final.(Sore Losers)

And finally the question "why lose overs under lights?" the answer is straight forward, administrations all over the world, ICC, etc, are there to make money, not to serve cricket. It all comes down to money, airtime, advertisements etc,.Time outs can be added to IPL but time for a virtual quarter final cannot be extended.

Posted by dr athar abbas on (June 17, 2009, 15:22 GMT)

I can clearly think of tennis matches especially in grand slam events. The matches are very frequently longer than the 20-20 cricket (if you think of French open 5 setters). Sometimes to complete the schedule of matches in a given day, they go very frequently to 1AM to 2AM. Some of the matches start at nearly mid night. I have never seen a best of 5 set match converted to best of 3 or for that matter best of 1 set match due to rain. Or some statistical basis of match outcome decision. It clearly robs the fairness of the game out of the competition. Many 5 set matches are won by the player losing the first 2 sets. what will happen if we curtail them, you can clearly imagine There is simply no reason to curtail the 20/20 matches to even shorter duration.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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