If ever the ICC were looking for a fairy tale start to a new venture, they would have to perform a miracle to improve on the start of the Twenty20 World Cup. Over 400 runs in under 40 overs. Pro 20 cricket was designed to entertain and if there are going to be more exciting matches than the opener – Twenty20 cricket will take the world by storm.
SA decided to field first and after Gayle destroyed their attack with TEN yes TEN 6’s and 7 4’s in his 57 ball 117. Smith might well have regretted the decision, with all of the bowlers being smashed around.
Smith decided to lead by example and introduce himself into the attack as the only spinning option. He performed admirably for his ability and showed the side that with his limited bowling talent the over cost only 17. It did indeed spur on the rest of the attack with far superior bowling skills, and the 12th over bowled by Smith was the highest for the rest of the innings!!!
The Windies were cruising along until Van der Wath removed Gayle in the 17th over and only conceded 4 runs followed by Morne Morkel conceding 3 runs in the 18th over. This was the least runs conceded in the innings. There was little support to Gayle apart from Devon Smith who opened the batting with Gayle making 35 off 34 balls
The Windies set SA 206 for victory however as mentioned in “The Players to Watch” post, West Indies didn’t have the bowlers to back their batsman up and whilst 200 should be defendable by any team, SA managed to get there with 14 balls to spare.
The West Indies surely set a record for the most wides in a 20/20 international game conceding 23 of them!! Not that this detracts from the beautiful 120 run partnership between Gibbs and Kemp, Gibbs making 90 off 55 whilst Kemp carved 46 off 22 balls.
South Africa managed an 8 wicket victory which should be more than enough of a warning to Australia that they are looking to knock them off their perch as the favourites.