Four things we learned from the 2016 World T20

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We could have done more than four, but the article was starting to look a bit long so we just arbitrarily drew a line under things. It’s not even the best four. It’s just the first four that came to mind.

Darren Sammy can channel energy

Marlon’s upset with Shane Warne, Chris is upset because he got told off, everyone’s upset with the West Indies Cricket Board and with Mark Nicholas for saying they were short of brains. ‘Good,’ says Darren Sammy. ‘Use that.’

The Windies captain even managed to convince his side that the world was against them when they were playing England in the final and the cricket world was therefore most definitely with them.

Quarter finals aren’t for cricket

Upsets are still possible when international cricket tournaments have quarter finals, but when a sport generally has precisely eight teams that are noticeably stronger than the others, whittling the contenders down to eight doesn’t tend to deliver much in the way of jeopardy or excitement.

This tournament, which went straight from the group stage to semi-finals, had a much better way of doing things. It meant the first phase of the tournament had actual hard-to-predict knockout matches.

The bigger the match, the more likely it is that a bit of part-time dob will buy you a wicket

Joe Root’s part-time offspin, while not technically dob, accounted for both of West Indies’ openers in the space of just three balls in the final. Virat Kohli’s rather more classical dob also reaped instant dividends in the semi.

Dob is much undervalued in professional cricket. Bowl it in the County Championship and there’s no real danger, but in a high pressure Twenty20 match, the batsman feels compelled to hit out. All that talk of targeting weaker bowlers means that when a captain brings on Alan McMilitary-Straight-Up-And-Down the batsman feels compelled to maximise his return on the next six deliveries. As often as not, this seems to involve him skying the first one to an outfielder.

There’s more than one way to win a Twenty20 match

Maybe this could replace that famous cat-skinning saying, which after all isn’t really very nice. A lot of people like to assume that whoever’s won a given Twenty20 match must therefore be playing the best ‘brand’ of cricket, but it’s clear from this tournament that all any result really means is that the victors were playing their brand of cricket better than the opposition were playing theirs.

New Zealand duffled – yes, duffled – their way through a series of matches by smothering the opposition with an endless rotation of spinners; England tried to score as fast as they could throughout their innings in the knowledge that there were always more batsmen to come; and The Windies dawdled about and then hit sixes. All were perfectly viable ways of setting about things. One day you could be watching Joe Root or Virat Kohli winning a match by refusing to face a single dot ball. The next day, Marlon Samuels faces 21 of them and the West Indies still win.


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  1. Maybe the fifth would have been about twists and turns within a match – not something that’s always been apparent in Twenty20. Are players going about the game differently? Are international players better equipped to wrest the initiative?

    1. Some but by no means all twists in matches resulted from the previously dominant side easing off or even imploding themselves. So not necessarily the wresting of initiative but the surrender thereof.

      But that may be partly because the game has increasingly fine margins now everyone has had a chance to get used to it.

      Teams’ best strategies often involve life precariously close to the edge – English hyperaggression with the bat means there’s always a collapse waiting to happen even if most (they hope) games it doesn’t come to fruition. West Indies preference for “dots and boundaries” can leave them needing the big hits when other teams would have knocked off the runs with their legs, but if they get the big hits then good for them.

      I’m not sure if that is by design or T20 has simply worked out this way, but it does offer more drama than first believed.

      1. One thing I learned during the world T20 is that Bailout writes long and good comments. I like Bailout.

  2. Deciding on the reason you’re doing it is the most important thing. Is it just for fun, or are you trying to make some lovely fur place mats?

  3. I also seemed to have noticed a difference between international T20 & Franchise based T20.

    It seems in Franchise T20 they don’t suffer non-performers gladly. everyone has to contribute in most if not all matches

    But in international T20, especially tournaments such World-T20 where 1 loss (for associates) or 2 losses (for full members) can eliminate the team from the tournament, it seems if a player can play a decisive performance in any 1 match, that is enough to carry him for the rest of the tournament. for ex. Mooen Ali against Afghanistan (for England) or Chris gayle against England (for West Indies)

    and as we saw (using example of Angelo Mathews) in England-SriLanka match, wickets are not at all the currency in T20 matches because there is an abundance of them, so in any given match it seems if 1 batsman comes good he can carry the others with him in that match

    Is this a valid observation or just a hindsight?

    1. I wanted to do a longer comment on this when I had time to crunch the numbers but look at eg the Eng women who had a reasonably successful tournament, getting to the semi-final (perhaps sub par for expectations but not a calamitous result).

      Look at the tournament run totals per player, particularly most of the “batting” part of the lineup.

      Quite a few players were clearly being “carried” presumably in the hope/expectation that one or the other would hit it off eventually.

      Looking at bat/ball figures and comparing to final result, one could say Sammy had a tournament that “overrewarded” him (unfair in his case as KC points out, there is captaincy contribution on and off field too – even just easing the pressure on other top players by taking the mantle should count for something) but he is far far far from alone.

    2. Interesting Q re dropping nonperformers. Do franchises really do that as often as we think or are they just using their larger rosters to pick teams for particular pitches and to some extent opponents? Or even just selecting for “form”? In tournament play national sides don’t have big enough squads for that kind of jigging about.

      Also hard to know who is performing in T20 in many ways – you can play the right game plan and still be thwonked as a bowler or get out cheaply as a batter (the criminal offence is really getting out cheaply and slowly). The mere threat of a drop can induce cautious play which is counterproductive – you really want people to feel free to hit with abandon, a point that His Majesty has often raised on here.

      1. The criminal offence for bowlers is probably conceding extras while being thwonked. Even playing the role of Mr Dibble-Dobble or Miss Spindross seems entirely forgivable and in some cases handsomely rewarded.

      2. true, franchises have a larger roster. so when they have lost matches they invariably bring in somebody else unless the player out of form is a marquee player, then he is given a longer rope

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