Twenty-twenty cricket is the most entertaining format of a sport that can be mind-numbingly boring. That’s why Sir Allen Stanford claimed on TV Saturday that it will supersede all other sports in popularity within a few years.
He’s got a vested interest in making such a statement but there is no doubt that tight endings in 20/20 enhance the excitement factor. One perfect example was witnessed by the 100 or so spectators at the Smith Road Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Police hit 125-8, thanks mainly to another powerful knock of 44 by captain Pearson Best and ably supported by Dave Cumberbatch, 17. Best top scored for Cayman at the Stanford 20/20 tournament in Antigua last month and at 45 is still the top batsman on the island.
Greenies started off carefully with opening pair Tom Stephens and Sean Cameron finding the openings. Stephens took his time to get going but by the time he went for 33 Greenies looked capable of overhauling Police. Greenies lost a couple of quick wickets and looked out of it but thanks to Cameron’s 18 and some cavalier batting by Paul Monio and Rupert Bool, they needed 13 from the last over.
Best decided to bowl his medium pace and it looked like a poor choice as Greenies hit him for two runs on each of the first five balls. So they needed three on the final ball but only managed one to finish on 124-5 for Police to win by one run. Manio scored 20 runs and Bool 22.
Stephens was featured in this paper as a road runner last week when he won. It wasn’t the same emotion this time. ‘I’m quite annoyed,’ he said. ‘We were very poor in the field. I’m satisfied with my own knock but it took a while.’
So is he a better runner than cricketer? ‘I’m very average at both!’
Best’s risky decision paid off. ‘It was very close at the end,’ he said. ‘They needed three runs on the last ball so it was very tight.’
Why did he bowl the last over when he doesn’t usually bowl? ‘There’s a saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Yes, they hit me for 10 in five balls, but it’s all part of the game. You take a gamble and if it comes off, it comes off.
‘I’ve still got my enthusiasm for 20/20. I’m a bit fitter than this time last year and feeling really good. I’m looking forward to playing more games. I’m not really finding the middle of the bat yet, so let that be a warning to the teams to come.’