Old tricks apply in Twenty20

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It may be cricket's newest invention but the secret to success for a bowler at Twenty20 cricket is surprisingly old-fashioned.

It may be cricket's newest invention but the secret to success for a bowler at Twenty20 cricket is surprisingly old-fashioned.

At least, that is the view of one of the cult figures of Twenty20 cricket in England, Tim Murtagh, who holds the record for the greatest haul 6-24 in the super-short game, achieved against Middlesex in front of more than 28,000 screaming fans at Lord's.

Murtagh, 24, is also the one who lifted Surrey into last year's Twenty20 semi-finals in England, after winning the first bowl-out like soccer's penalty shoot-out, with five bowlers from each team getting two attempts at knocking over the stumps without a batsman at the crease to decide a winner in a tied match in the game's brief history.

"Everyone thinks it's a hit-and-bash game, which it is but quite often the pressure falls on the batsman because everyone has turned up to see fours and sixes. A lot of teams try to bowl a lot of yorkers from the start but we had a theory that you just bowl normally with slips," Murtagh said yesterday.

"The batsmen are under so much pressure to score quickly, that you can often get them edging behind or to the slips. You've just got to keep a cool head, mix it up and bowl like you would in a one-day game."

Disagreeing with critics who fear Twenty20 could be detrimental to bowlers, the right-arm fast medium bowler playing for Sydney's Eastern Suburbs this summer, said the game helped make him a better player.

"I think it improves your skills for the one-day game, you learn about bowling at the death and you have to keep coming up with different ideas. I don't think it ruins careers, you can learn a lot from it," he said.

"The best part about it is that you actually get people coming to the games, compared to other county cricket, where hardly anyone comes. It attracts women, children, families my girlfriend Katie even comes now because it's only three hours and not so boring for her."

Melbourne will get its first taste of the new interstate Twenty20 competition today, when Victoria takes on South Australia at the Junction Oval from 3.30pm.

The Bushrangers, who snared a stunning, two-run victory over Western Australia in their first game in Perth on Friday night, will swap Mick Lewis for Brad Hodge with the Australian team, with the bowler set to make his international Twenty20 debut tomorrow against South Africa. Hodge will replace rookie batsman Rob Quiney while paceman Gerard Denton comes in for Lewis.

South Australia, which has opted for youth, will welcome back speedster Shaun Tait for his first match following shoulder surgery, while Jason Gillespie is rested.

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