The warm ups are all done and dusted and there has been three competitive games at the World T20 tournament, so what have we learnt.
1. India will not challenge for this trophy due to their poor bowlers:
Watching India labour to a win over Afghanistan after unsuccessfully defending 185 against Pakistan in the warm up game, it is clear that India have a terrible bowling unit. Zaheer Khan seems to be unfit not taking a wicket in the match. His bowling at the present time is very average compounded by his fielding. Zaheer like Balaji look like old age pensioners running around the boundary, T20 should be a young man’s game. Irfan Pathan has been in decent form before warm up games, but against Pakistan he was clueless, bowling a full toss to give them the match. The one wicket he took today was a clear inside edge given out LBW, that could easily have been a game changer. Rohit Sharma batted for 3 balls today, its time Dhoni puts in another front line bowler (who is actually decent) into the team.
2. England and Pakistan are looking strong:
These are only warm up games so should be taken with caution, but both teams have impressed. Pakistan showed the good side of their batting against India chasing down 185. This is impressive as people have questioned Pakistan’s batting. The normal Pakistan batting did return in the next match being bowled out for 96 chasing only 111. In this game Pakistan impressed with the ball, bowling England out for a low total. England outplayed Australia in all departments on Monday as well as a fine bowling performance to skittle Pakistan out today. The two teams have very good bowling attacks which should impress throughout.
3. Australia are vulnerable in batting once the top 3 are out:
Today Australia were not tested to their full batting capacity, this due to their good bowling display. I am not sure if the poor batting was due to complacency or something else, but after Watson fell it was all down hill. The captain Bailey taking it easy scoring 6 runs off 17 balls. In my opinion they would be a much improved side if Bailey dropped out and David Hussey came into the team.
4. The Colombo pitch is a good pitch for seam bowling:
Watching the Austrailian bowlers today it is evident that the pitch helps the seamer’s. Watson in particular set the tone for his younger compatriots Cummings and Starc who both bowled fast and aggressively. Teams such as England, Pakistan and South Africa will be able to exploit these conditions well. I am looking forward to Stein, Morkel and Finn on this pitch. The Hambantota pitch seems on evidence to be a turner, as there were 9 wickets falling to spin in the 2nd innings.
5. It was the Mendis show in game 1:
Jeevan Mendis started this route with his effort with the bat, scoring a good 43. He followed this up with 3 wickets in an impressive display. Jeevan would on any other day have expected the headlines, but his namesake Ajantha provided the best ever bowling record in T20 cricket. Figures of 4 overs for 8 runs and 2 wickets, truely amazing figures. Zimbabwe did not have a clue how to play him. Sri Lanka looked good during the match doing everything right, but I still have a slight feeling they will fall short.
6. The minnows so far need to improve their fielding:
Afghanistan could have shocked everyone today if they had taken their catches. They played good cricket but were let down by the fielding. Ireland were under par in all departments, but they would be more disappointed that they did not put Australia under more pressure with their usual good fielding.
Bring on the rest of the show, I personally cant wait to see West Indies play, for me the most intriguing team.