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Players have analysed the opposition, the match situations, game patterns, etc. since the early days of cricket, but the intensity of Twenty20 cricket is taking the tactical strategising to a new level, writes Neil Manthorp in the Mail & Guardian.
When AB de Villiers faced Sri Lanka's star fast bowler, Lasith Malinga, during the fifth over of the seven-over match last week in Hambantota, he seemed eerily well prepared for the second ball. He positioned himself quickly, suspiciously quickly, for the hook shot and then made the sweetest connection possible to send it more than 100m over deep midwicket.
Indeed, the first ball of the over had been an attempted yorker, which slid out of control for a wide. De Villiers reasoned that a fast bouncer was unlikely to follow – which left him with the slower bouncer. He picked it – and destroyed it.