Champions’ League 2011 – an irreverent look

cricket blogs for Yahoo Cricket Columns




The innings of the tournament: Warner's 135 in 69 balls for New South Wales against Chennai. Analytically, this has become the best IPL/CL innings ever played. However, visually also there has been no better innings ever. It was important that the NSW bowlers delivered the match for Warner. Unlike the next few days when Warner's own 123 and Harris' 108 were squandered by the Australian club bowlers.


The stunner of the tournament: Warner's 5 switch-hits, producing 3 x 4s and 1 x 6, producing 18 runs. An average of 3.6 runs per ball. One was off Dwayne Bravo, a medium pacer. Despite Harsha's and Ian's continued attempts to discredit this mode of play, it is legal and requires skills not possessed by 99% of international batsmen.


The bowling spell of the tournament: Sunil Narine's 4-over spell of 3 for 8. This was for Trinidad and Tobago against Chennai. This was against top quality players of spin, such as Michael Hussey, Raina and Dhoni. This has also become the best ever spell in IPL/CLs. Added weight was the low total being defended.


The over of the tournament: Undoubtedly, Shaun Tait's 3-wicket over which was the 19th time Tait single-handedly brought South Australia back into the match. The fact that Daniel Christian squandered it in the next over does not take the value away from this over. As a second placed over, I would suggest Steyn's 6 outswingers which went past T&T's Perkins' out-stretched bat 6 times. He was not good enough to get a touch.


When do I see Red?: When I see Gayle in his dark Red uniform, Pollard in his light Blue uniform and Bravo in his Yellow uniform. No one grudges these players the hundreds of thousands of dollars they earn. Let them sort out their issues with the West Indies Board, who may very well be more at fault, and play for West Indies, THEN come and play here and collect their dollars. When they do that, I will applaud. Why is IPL/CL not implementing the NOC requirement from the home country?


The swing of the tournament: Karthick's prayers-on-his-lips swing against Christian. Would I have connected? Possibly not, I would have needed a slow full toss. However, to be provided a slower delivery, the fourth of the over, on a length, on the off stump, was exactly what Karthick would have prayed for, and got. Why did Christian not go round the wicket and bowl a slightly fuller faster ball?


The team of the tournament: Irrespective of the winning Mumbai team, my choice for the team of the tournament would be Trinidad and Tobago. They could have won four matches or lost all four matches. They won two and narrowly missed out. The quality of spin bowling they brought to the field, the quality of fielding and the never-say-die spirit of Cooper all makes me think they could as well play international cricket on their own. And to think that they could have had Dwayne Bravo and Pollard playing for them!


The captain of the tournament: Must be Harbhajan Singh. He is not one of my favourite players. However, he showed excellent captaincy qualities and also brought a no-nonsense simplicity to the tournament. His praise of T&T was wholesome and sincere. His use of Malinga and Franklin was imaginative. The best compliment one could pay Harbhajan is to say that he could, in the longer run, prove to be a better captain for Mumbai than Sachin Tendulkar.

The umpiring howler of the tournament: Dilshan was on 63 and was hit on the backfoot 12 inches in front of the middle stump and was not given out by Ravi. Looking at what happened later, it is entirely probable that this howler caused South Australia the match.

The achievers of the tournament: The over-achievers were Somerset and T&T. They could very well have gone on to reach the Final. The under-achievers were Chennai and the two South African teams. The South African teams managed to convert comfortable wins into quarter-final defeats.


A balanced tournament: Normally in T20 matches in India, the real contest is between the batsmen and batsmen. Barring a few odd matches, it is a question of "what your batsman can do, my batsmen can do better". However in the CL11, there seemed to be a fair contest between bat and ball. 150+ totals were chased and defended, but more importantly, 120+ totals were defended and 200+ totals were chased. There seemed to be a fair balance between bat and ball.

The paradox of the tournament: Given below are two sets of scores. Same day, same ground but scores 180 degrees apart. One could say either it’s the uncertainty of the game or something in the mind of players.


4/10/11 at Chennai:     CC-137/4    vs    T&T-138/8.
             NSW-201/2    vs     CSK-155 ao.


5/10/11 at Bangalore:     SOM-146/4     vs     WAR-134/8.
            SAR-214/2     vs     RCB-215/8.