October 2, 2012
Statisticians – slide rules, calculators and spreadsheets at the ready – were waiting for the call. Would the first two World T20 semi-final places need to be decided on net run rates? All four teams in Group 1 of the Super Eights, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka and England, were on tenterhooks as they approached their last group matches on Monday.
But in the end there was no need. New Zealand suffered the misfortune of a second “super over” defeat in five days, this time to a resurgent West Indies, and head home. A few hours later, England were blown away by Sri Lanka, losing by 19 runs, and now face the inevitable barrage of questions about whether they would have been better served with Kevin Pieterson in the fold. So there we have it. Sri Lanka (6 points) and West Indies (4 points) qualify.
West Indian heroes in the main 20 over contest in which New Zealand matched (but did not beat) West Indies’ moderate score of 139 were once again Chris Gayle (31 runs at a strike rate of over 200) and Sunil Narine (3 wickets for 20 off 4 overs). And then, come the super over tussle, Gayle and Marlon Samuels both hit sixes off Tim Southee to steer their team through.
Sri Lanka’s match winner was Lasith Malinga who returned figures of 5 wickets for 31 and in the process put paid to England’s lingering hopes of getting their hands on the trophy come Sunday night. Samit Patel (67 runs in 48 balls) helped the visitors to recover from 17 for 3 and Graeme Swann swung bravely late in the innings but the target was always beyond England. Earlier, Mahela Jayawardene had impressed once again with a cultured 42 runs from 38 balls as Sri Lanka progressed to 169.
And the statisticians? Don’t go home just yet – you may still be called upon on Tuesday at the conclusion of the Group 2 Super Eight matches involving Australia, India, Pakistan and South Africa.
The Scoop 02/10/12