The primary grouse against T20 cricket is that it is a batsman’s game, which is also the reason for its popularity.
I have yet to meet someone who appreciates a T20 game where one team is bowled out for a 100-odd total and the opposition struggles to chase the same.
Let’s admit one fact – there is a sadistic pleasure in watching bowlers get mauled by men with bats which would rival the maces used at the Colosseum in ancient Greece. Test cricket may be a rich man’s game of chess, but T20 is WWE – the newest form of entertainment.
Keeping all this in mind, one is slightly surprised why the Champions League T20 is yet to get off the blocks, considering the fact it is the sole true-blue “international” T20 tournament after the ICC World T20.
Of course, one could attribute this to its bias to the BCCI (4 IPL teams does not maketh a tournament “global”), or due to the fact that it is scheduled in the international calendar after the end of a long and tiring season for most.
The very reason therefore, why the CL T20 is alive, is the odd spurt of batsmanship that reinforces the follower’s interest in the game. MS Dhoni played one such knock yesterday in his hometown of Ranchi.
We look at 5 other knocks that have helped to put the tournament in focus since its inception.
1) Kieron Pollard (Trinidad & Tobago vs New South Wales, Hyderabad 2009) – 54 (18b, 5 x 4s, 5 x 6s)
This was the innings that set up Champions League T20 as a tournament and Kieron Pollard as a player to reckon with.
Pollard had made it to the West Indian setup in World Cup T20 earlier the same year, but had failed to display any of the potential firepower which he had used to storm the barns in Caribbean domestic cricket.
Thus far in the tournament, he had not exhibited any special powers and when Dwayne Bravo fell with T&T still needing 80 off 7 overs, many in Hyderabad would have taken the game to be over.
Not Kieron Pollard.
After Denesh Ramdin had provided a spunky start to the rest of the chase, Pollard went into auto-blast mode as he sent Moises Henriques high and far into the night sky on his way to a swashbuckling 54 off only 18 deliveries with 5 sixes.
In the end, T&T reached him with more than an over to spare. It wouldn’t be long before T20 franchises around the world picked up the Pollard trail.