You can say many things about cricket, but a crazy sport is rarely one of them. So fine, all the so called razzmatazz of T20 cricket is designed for show, but even so, generally the game happens, and life goes on.
On Friday, Ireland played Holland in such a match, one of the most staggering games I’ve seen. Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe had unsurprisingly beaten the UAE quite comfortably, and had overtaken Ireland in the table, on net run rate, the decider if teams were tied at the end of the group stage. So basically it came down to (so people thought) that if Ireland won, they went through. If Holland won, it was pretty certain that Zimbabwe would go through, but…
Holland won the toss, and put Ireland into bat, so they knew quite literally what they had to do to qualify. Ireland batted pretty well, amassing a very decent score of 189, in their 20 overs. So now, Holland knew what they had to do. If they won the game, within 14 overs, and 2 balls, then they would qualify. Fine, but that means they have to score at 13.25 runs per over to do it, seemingly not all that likely, if Ireland kept their heads, and bowled well. Any Holland win beyond that point, Zimbabwe went through, and any other result, Ireland would.
Holland went off like their tails were on fire, and in a sense they were. The thing is, it kept coming off, and the ball kept sailing over the boundary, many times without bouncing, for 6’s. I watched it, though it wasnt long before my hands were over my eyes, peering through, watching a road crash for Ireland.
Yes, as is known, Holland actually got there with 3 balls to spare, scoring at nearly 14 runs an over!
So fine, that was the sublime, then came the ridiculous. Having qualified in this amazing fashion, they lined up in the main stage against Sri Lanka, this time batting first. It didnt take long for the wickets to fall, 3 having gone in scoring just 1 run! Thankfully, the pain didnt last too long, they were all out for 39, by far the lowest score ever in a 20 over international. Sri Lanka knocked off the runs in about 5 overs!
I know, different class of bowling attack, and possibly a bit of ‘after the lord mayor’s show’ in that having beaten Ireland, they had nothing left! I have a horrible feeling, their next game on Thursday, against South Africa could be more of the same! Would Ireland have done much better? Who knows, but I feel we wouldnt have subsided quite as horribly as that. Snag is, it leaves those watching associate cricket teams for the first time with a big stick to beat us down with. Ah well…
The video, an almost moment for Holland, shall we say. Eurovision 1974, a lot of people remember the winners, yes, that was the year Abba won! This finished a very respectable 3rd