After a couple of days of the World
Twenty20, a few certainties have already been established.
There won’t be any shocks this time
from the two associate teams, as there were from the Irish in the 2007 World
Cup and the Dutch in last year’s World Twenty20.
On generally slow and low pitches,
as at Providence and Beausejour and possibly even Kensington, allied to ample
outfields not reduced to favour six-hitting, slow bowlers have already featured
prominently in every team’s planning.
In the gripping opening match
between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, spinners sent down 19 of the 39.5 overs. The
two most economical bowlers have been left-arm spinners, the 17-year-old
Irishman George Dockerell (4-0-16-3 against the West Indies) and the Indian
Ravindra Jadeja (4-1-15-1 against Afghanstan). So it is likely to continue.
Providence on Friday night, packed
to capacity for the West Indies’ opening match, indicated that the affordable
ticket prices and the tournament’s ’Bring It’ campaign have won over the fans,
shortchanged by the World Cup three years ago and starved until now of the
newest, shortest and most popular version of the game.
Most worryingly, it is clear that
the West Indies will not survive the Super Eights round if they continue to bat
with the negligence that marked their faltering innings against Ireland.
This was no aberration, no blip on
the night. In the limited-overs series in Australia in February they failed to
bat 40 of their allocated 50 overs in three of the four completed matches.
Against Zimbabwe at home in March,
they were rolled for 79 in the lone Twenty20 and repeatedly made mountains out
of molehill targets.
Against New Zealand last Wednesday
night, in their lone preparation match for this tournament, they managed to
turn 86 for one going after 124 into 117 all out.
On Friday, they were without their
injured captain and vital opener Chris Gayle and still won handsomely enough,
by 70 runs after dismissing their limited opponents for 68 in 16.4 overs. But
it was not a case of all’s well that ends well.
They will find their
coming contests-against England tomorrow and Sri Lanka, India and Australia in
the Super Eights- altogether more demanding.