ODIs are changing with arrival of Twenty20

Published: Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Twenty20 cricket has come a long way in three years, dismissed by many in the game including Ricky Pointing as nothing more then hit and giggle its influence can now be seen in the longer format of the game.

The perfect example of this was witnessed at The Wanderers, a disbelieving crowd witnessed the greatest One-day international of all as South Africa hit a world record 438 for 9 with one wicket and one ball to spare to beat Australia.

If the home fans were amazed at lunch, having seen the visitors smash 434 for 4, with Ricky Ponting making 164, they would have been pinching themselves when Mark Boucher hit the winning runs off Brett Lee after Herschelle Gibbs had led the way with 175.

The 872 runs scored smashed the previous record of 693 when India beat Pakistan in 2004. Ponting, the Australian captain, reached his ton off 73 balls. In all he faced 105 deliveries, hit 13 fours and nine sixes. But Gibbs outshone him with seven sixes in a 111-ball innings.

Freed by a taste of Twenty20 cricket, batsmen now know it is possible to score at 10 an over without committing suicide.

After conceding last month that he underestimated the impact Twenty20 cricket would have on the longer format of the game, Ricky Ponting suggested the high totals posted by both sides were related to the advent of Twenty20 cricket.

"It's been spoken a little bit around our team and there's been a bit of press about in Australia for 12 months now, about our One-day team maybe scoring 400 one day," he said.

"We did it today and lost. I think we'll just have to try and get 250 next time and see if we can defend those. Twenty20 cricket probably has a little bit to do with it, with the amount of runs and the hitting that's going on now in 50-over cricket.

"I've said for a while now that the amount of 50-over cricket that's being played is a big part of the reason why sides are scoring so many Test runs in a day as well. Batsmen just don't have that fear anymore that they probably had a few years ago. They're hitting the ball a lot further and a lot harder than ever before."

Sharp-eyed bowlers such as Michael Kasprowicz sensed it would only be a matter of time before the crazy scoring levels of the 20-over game proved to batsmen that they could score quicker in 50-over contests.

Something big has been brewing in One-day cricket for some time.

There has been a feeling the game was going so much the batsmen's way that one day there would be a match which would be cricket's "perfect storm".

A game when bowlers, instead of simply being dominated, were absolutely dismembered to the point where it would be exhilarating yet almost embarrassing to watch.

Finally, on Sunday in Johannesburg, it happened, twice.

There are a multitude of reasons why batsmen have been on a scoring frenzy in the One-dayers in general, and Sunday in particular.

Bats are heavier, boundaries smaller, wickets flatter, the air was thin, the attacks slightly under-strength and the passion levels high.

But the key factor lies in the heads of batsmen, where mental handbreaks have been released and bars raised.

Twenty20 cricket has taught batsmen that chasing 200 plus in 20 over is now achievable.

It wasn't that long ago that if a bowler conceded 50 runs in a One-dayer he was deemed to have had a shocker. On Sunday night any bowler doing that would have been a contender to pick up minor votes in the Man of the Match award.

Courtesy: thetwenty20cup.co.uk

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