Aussie summer = cricket. There’s just no other way of life. So it’s almost sacrilegious to say that I have not always been the biggest cricket fan. Yet, tonight, I got hooked – hooked on Twenty20 Cricket.
The format is simple – each side bowls 20 overs, each bowler is allowed a maximum of 4 overs, the batsmen are encouraged to smash the ball around, and in many cases, out of the park, and the whole thing lasts about 3 hours in total. As a newcomer to this format of cricket, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. After watching Adam Gilchrist smash three consecutive 6s out of the SCG and Australia reach a world record of 5 for 221 off 120 balls, I’m now a huge fan.
I came very close to taking up the offer from a colleague to buy one of his tickets to watch the game live at the SCG today. But with meetings stretching well into the late afternoon, my brain was well fried by the time I left for home at 7.30pm, and thankful I didn’t have to make polite conversation throughout the cricket. Grateful that I can sit in my living room in my jim jams and relax with a full strength cold beer, I switched on the TV to see Australia batting first.
About 4 overs into the Australian inning, I had a moment of regret that I wasn’t sitting in the SCG sipping a plastic cup of light beer. The atmosphere translated quite well through the TV – music was blaring, there were elements of fun about the game, and the batsmen were smashing the English bowling left, right and centre.
Adding to the fun, Channel 9 made arrangements to “mike up” some of the players on the field, including Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and England captain Michael “Dickie Knee” Vaughn, allowing the commentary team to chat with the players as the game unfolded.
To anyone who has never seen a game of cricket, I would highly recommend you ease into the foray by watching a Twenty20 match. The game is fast and furious and a lot of fun. To the naysayers who say “it’s just not cricket”, well, I have to agree with you, but this is hits and giggles, so get over it.
Incidentally, the English managed a respectable 6 for 126 before the lower order crumbled faster than shortbread in a cup of tea – 9 for 144, well short of the target.