Andrew Mulligan: Why T20 is such a great hit

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Tactics, variations and the options make short form of game exciting.
Martin Guptill and the Black Caps didn't choke in their semifinal, they were beaten by a better unit. Picture / AP
Martin Guptill and the Black Caps didn't choke in their semifinal, they were beaten by a better unit. Picture / AP

T20 cricket has always been tagged with the "hit and giggle" put-down.

It was seen as a way to start a limited overs series or tour with a bit of fun and to improve the chances of being picked up by a lucrative domestic league.

Now, though, the Black Caps at the World T20 have reinvigorated my interest in the game.

I'm suddenly talking tactics, variations and the options at the disposal of the selectors for conditions and in-game for Captain Kane.

I'm looking at strike rates but where once I found that was the only stat that mattered, I'm searching databases for a little bit more on a player.

The economy rates of bowlers, the average of teams through certain overs of innings and how a triple spin threat is now the new "opening with Dipak Patel" has got me fired up.

Our team didn't choke in the semifinal, they were flat out beaten by a unit who had experience with the conditions in Delhi through pool play and a masterful plan.

We might have helped create the monster that England have transformed themselves into but, as we've seen from the Black Caps, bouncing back is always a possibility when faced with continual losses.

England won because they had the confidence in their plan to execute it. Chris Jordan bowling very wide of off stump was brilliant.

According to the TV coverage, he set up cones pre-game to bowl at the exact spots he knew would frustrate the batsmen and he bowled 12 dot balls in his miserly four-over spell.

Liam Plunkett set up Colin Munro in a perfect trap to dismiss the threat, again frustrating him into a high shot to third man. England then tied down our experienced and reliable middle order and choked the life out of the New Zealanders at the death.

Having the gumption to bowl first paid dividends. England out-thought the thinkers of the T20 game. And that's the point.

I'm now thinking of T20 as a strategic and fast-paced chess game where once I just watched for the crazy shot-making abilities and the records of quickfire innings.

A game full of traps, turning deliveries and wrong-uns while still retaining heavy bats and belting the leather off the ball is capturing a new audience.

For the tournament to now be held every four years is a mistake.

World T20 is always going to be a showcase for the sport and the scheduling of it is a smaller commitment than an ODI World Cup. The ICC have missed a trick. Four years is too long for T20 to wait to crown a champion.

The final needs to be best of three as well. A mate suggested game one and two on the first day with a night session and then the third game the following evening. Good idea.

What TV company doesn't want the two best teams battling it out in a true series where variables like the outlier of a Chris Gayle can swing a game in an instant?

- NZ Herald

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