A shining moment for Twenty20 cricket
Champions League Twenty20 failed to attract spectators to the stadiums for most of the matches and it is safe to hazard a guess there weren’t too many takers for the tournament at homes either. This indifference was to be expected considering India’s woeful performance in England and the virtual non-stop cricket that has been played since the World Cup.
The qualifying and group stage matches not involving any of the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams were hardly watched either at the stadiums or on television sets at homes; the ones involving IPL teams fared only a tad better (not taking into account when Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore played at home). Luckily for the organisers, the semi-finalists weren’t determined until the last two days of the group stage and this did help in attracting more eyeballs – both at the stadium and at homes.
That two of the last four matches in the group stage saw some pulsating performances have gone a long way in ensuring this edition of the CL T20 won’t be a damp squib. On Tuesday, David Warner’s scintillating 69-ball 136 not out helped New South Wales Blues knock defending champions CSK out of the tournament. Warner’s knock was one of the best T20 knocks ever and what made it more special was that it came on a slow track at MA Chidambaram Stadium, which until then had proven to be the scourge of batsmen.
If that wasn’t enough to infuse some much-needed life into the tournament, the last group stage match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and South Australia Redbacks certainly did that and much more.
The must-win match for both teams saw a terrific unbeaten century, three cracking knocks in the seventies, a five-wicket haul and an outstanding run chase that was capped by a last-ball six as RCB won the match to book their berth in the semi-finals in front of more than 10,000 spectators at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium.