Champions League Twenty20 (Behind the Scenes)

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tim-mathiasWorld Cricket Watch will be bringing you reports from the heart of the action as our roving reporter Tim Mathias is in India taking in the sights and getting swept along by this cricket mad nation. He continues to pursue his dream of publishing his ongoing research on the evolution of Indian cricket, from ‘Cultural Supremacy to Cricketing Swadeshi’ and the Champions League is the next logical step.


Tim’s Indian Shorts

SehwagVirender Sehwag was man-of-match as Delhi beat the Wayamba Elevens comprehensively.  He fashioned some awe-inspiring shots, including a number of Tendulkar-esque flicks, taken from outside off-stump and dispatched to the leg-side boundary.  Blaise Murphet has noted the confusion of the ‘globality’ of the tournament, but there was no shortage of affection for the local boy. The ‘Viru-bomb’s’ every shot was cheered with flags and banners waved. And, when he regained composure following an unsightly collision with the Wayamba wicket keeper, a huge sigh of relief.

Delhi Daredevils progression into the next round of the CLT20 is a victory for the IPL. How embarrassing it would have been had the Indian teams not qualified for the next group stage. Bangalore should progress, but the Deccan Chargers require a victory against a very exciting Trinidad and Tobago team.  The Australian teams appear to be favourites, early on in the tournament.

The NSW Blues have appeared to have prepared thoroughly, with some members of the squad training for up to six weeks before the tournament. It showed against Sussex, who on the 27th September finished a six-month season of four competitions, each a different format of the game.  The Sharks may bring season of team spirit and ‘togetherness’ to the tournament, but also a season of fatigue.

Glenn McGrath’s last competitive effort was in the semi-final of the IPL1, a year and a half ago. And his rustiness in the field showed, failing to chase down a boundary as the ball trickled to the rope and ‘superman-ing’ over another to conceive four more runs.  Yet at 39 years old and out of cricket for 18 months, ‘Pidge’ produced an impressive display of line and length. With two deliveries striking the top of the stumps, it was as if McGrath had never left cricket.  The crowd cheered his every ball, appreciating a true legend of modern cricket. This was reminiscent of the vintage displays the Aussie used to replicate time and time again, complete with the trademark hands on hips.

I was lucky enough to meet and chat to a number of Sussex fans that had travelled from the South coast all the way to the subcontinent to follow the Sharks.  Two individuals had been fortunate enough to fund their trip with an audacious gamble on a Premier League football match.  One of the friends had run to the local bookies with a ten pound note to back a ‘Jermaine Defoe First Goal/Man Utd win’ bet at 170/1, with two minutes to spare before kick-off.  Manchester United won the game convincingly, but not before an acrobatic effort by in-form Defoe put Tottenham on the score sheet, after only 38 seconds.

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