Auckland v Sialkot, CLT20 qualifier, Johannesburg October 9, 2012

I thought 130 was enough - Malik

It's a sign of the times that a total of 130 in 20 overs is a described as below par. But, Twenty20 cricket has produced attitudes that think anything less than eight runs an over, or thereabouts, is not competitive enough, and Sialkot showed why that way of thinking persists as their below-par total was chased with ease.

Sialkot's score resulted from a combination of a start that was too slow for them to make up and conditions that favoured Auckland's attack. Kyle Mills and Michael Bates gave away only 11 runs in the first five overs and both got the ball to nip away off the seam against tentative Sialkot openers.

"Having a good start is something we target. Kyle Mills prides himself on using that first over to set the momentum," Gareth Hopkins, the Auckland captain, said. "But it was also a tricky wicket to bat on, especially with the new ball."

Mills was Man of the Match for his spell of 4-1-6-2, an effort he aid was due to a disciplined line. "I was conscious of not giving away any width and bowling on off stump," he said. "We built pressure from both ends and they were always on the back foot."

Shoaib Malik thought the use of the heavy roller during the break between matches could have brought up moisture from the morning rain - Johannesburg's first showers in over two weeks - to the surface and added to his side's difficulty. To get 130 on that surface and after that start was something Malik was proud of. "It was very tough when we were batting and the Auckland bowlers used the conditions well, but Shahid Yousuf batted brilliantly in the end. I thought it was enough."

Hopkins, however, suspected it was not and half the job was done. "When I looked at the first game [Yorkshire v Uva Next], I thought 150 was a little light," he said. "I actually thought something around 160 would be par." Andrew McDonald, the Uva allrounder who played in the day's first match, said his team thought a score of around 170 was par.

Taking those estimations into account, Sialkot were well short of a defendable total but Hopkins thought his team could have restricted them further. "If we had been better with certain areas of our game we think we could have had them for less, especially because there was a lot of sideways movement," he said. "We still saw them get under the length balls and hit us for six."

Sialkot scored 60 runs in sixes, almost half of their eventual total, and that number pointed to the lapses Hopkins spoke about. Those were not the only signs of rustiness among teams on the first day of the Champions League qualifiers. Both matches did not produce cricket of the highest quality. In particular, the fielding fumbles and soft dismissals from all four sides made it groan-worthy at times.

The poor turnout was also disappointing, although not much more could have been expected at this stage of the event. Little is known about the teams trying to qualify and few people have time to make new sporting discoveries in a busy city on a weekday. What they will know is that Yorkshire and Auckland are one step closer to the tournament and to playing in front of bigger crowds in South Africa.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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  • Satish on October 10, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    155-165 is a good score for a T20 game. If it crosses 190 mark, the opponent will come full throttle and attack without any other plan for the innings. Many times they will get away with it as they will slash it hard and top edges go for 6 like stuffs. 160 will make a team to form a plan not to lose wickets and see off one main bowler and all those stuffs. We have seen many games go other way with teams trying to consolidate and not able to get a move on and leave it too much for bashers in the end. I think 130 is always going to be a bit less particularly if one of the top order and one big hitter gets going. Vincent and Azhar settled the nerves and Kitchen made sure it doesn't pop up again.

  • Girik on October 10, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    I think 130 in 20 overs has always been less than par or par at the most. Even 25 years ago in ODI's if a team was 130/2 after 30 overs, you'd expect them to double their score in the last 20. Run rates always go higher as the number of overs decrease in an innings and this would have even been the case when WG Grace was playing (if limited overs cricket existed back then). As for the small turnout, there really should be a rule in the CL for the host nation to get an extra side in the tournament. Despite the potential for something very interesting, there are obviously many flaws with the current model. At least this time the non-IPL sides have generally increased the number of international stars in their eleven which is an improvement from previous years and will even things up.

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