Once upon a time, Cricketing authorities were looking to boost the game's popularity with the younger generation in r reesponse to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to deliver fast-paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who were put off by the longer versions of the game.
Due to these efforts, we are experiencing a thrill to watch the shorter version of the cricket like a suspense thriller movie
Author:- Ashwin Jangam (Cricket Analyst, host, poet, entertainer)
Insta I'd:- cricket_creativity
The world cup is a grand stage for cricketers and teams to showcase their immense talent and passion for the game. While the established test teams who dominate the game, play to prove their dominance and the associate nations play to establish their dominance and to promote the beautiful game in their country. The group stage of the T20 world cup 2021 was no different. The associate lit up the stage with their passion and performance and lived up to the expectations of the game.
The love for the game was visible in the inaugural match between Papua New Guinea and host country Oman when Asad Wala and his men could not hide their emotions and shed tears of happiness when their national anthem was played. The hosts were delighted to have a tournament of this magnitude happening in their homeland. They came to the party and gave their fans a moment to cheer by winning the first game comfortably by 10 wickets with 38 balls to spare. On the same day, Scotland led to the first upset in the tournament beating the 6th ranked Bangladesh by 6 runs in a nail-biting match.
The second group had a few known names in international cricket like Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia. The first fixture in this group on 18th October between Ireland and Netherlands was made memorable by Curtis Campher who pulled 4 wickets on 4 consecutive deliveries, restricting the Netherlands to 106, which was chased by Ireland in 16th over. The same day Sri Lanka bowled Namibia out for 96 courtesy of their spinners and won the game with 39 balls to spare.
On the 19th, Scotland defended a total of 165 against Papua New Guinea, with the latter fighting it till the end. But all eyes were on Bangladesh vs Oman contest happening on the same day. A do or die match for Bangladesh, they won it by 26 runs. With Naim scoring a half-century and his crucial partnership with Shakib helped them to cross the 150 run mark, despite their most experienced batters Mahmadullah and Rahim coming late to bat. It was then Mustafizur and Shakib with the ball who won it for the Bangla Tigers.
20th October witnessed an absolute thriller in the first one and a rather one-sided game in the second one. Namibia emerged victorious over the Netherlands in the nail biter with their captain Erasmus, Wiese and Smith coming to their rescue chasing a total of 165. The same day , Ireland was crushed by Sri Lanka who won the game by 70 runs, with their spinners again contributing to their win. With this win, Srilanka qualified for the super 12 in style.
Bangladesh almost sealed their spot in the super 12 on 21st beating Papua New Guinea by a huge margin of 84 runs. Scotland shattered the hopes of the host nation the same day by chasing a target of 123 in 17 overs, thereby confirming their place in Group B. Scotland dominated the group qualifying for the Super 12 for the first time.
The last day of the Group stage ended with Namibia and Srilanka emerging victorious. Namibia defeated Ireland by chasing 126 on a difficult pitch, with their captain Erasmus playing a captain knock along with David Wiese. Namibia had earned a place in Super 12 for the first time in a T20 world cup. The same day Sri Lanka went bonkers on the Netherlands, by allowing only 44 runs for their opponent, which they chased in a mere 9th over.
While Bangladesh and Srilanka have been a part of other T20 World cups, Scotland and Namibia made their performance win them a hard-earned place in the Super 12. Also, Papua New Guinea, Oman, Ireland showed great character in all the matches they played. They played their heart out. The Netherlands however had a campaign they would like to forget.
But the group stage gave identity to lot of new stars of cricket. Jatinder Singh, Aquib Ilyas, Zeeshan Maqsood, Asad Wala, kobea Morea, Curtis Campher, Little, Davy, Erasmus, and many others turned out to be heroes for their team and will be looked up to for the enhancement of the game in their country in the future.
The best part about the group stage was to see countries like Oman and Papua New Guinea making it to the tournament's group stage. It gave a ray of hope for the expansion of the game in new countries and will contribute to the betterment of the future of the game with more spectators and countries looking up to the game. Furthermore, the matches happening in the beautiful Oman cricket academy stadium surrounded by hills, brought satisfaction to viewers giving them hope of exploring new locations in the world on the cricket map. All in all, the happy cricket fans looking forward to the Super 12 will never forget the associate countries playing their heart out for qualifying and would hope to see more countries and newer locations on the World cricket map.