Twenty20 too hot for stars
The low-key introduction of the Twenty20 game in the domestic circuit by the board was complimented by lacklustre performances by some of the gameís biggest stars.
Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni and Irfan Pathan, all part of the debacle-ridden World Cup squad, failed to live up to their star value on the opening day of the inaugural Twenty20 event.
Down South, Kerala S Sreesanth gave away 29 runs in his three overs as Kerala fell 49 runs short of Karnatakaís target. At Wankhede, Pathan was wayward with the new ball and was smashed around by openers Robin Morris and Ajinkya Rahane as Mumbai beat Baroda by eight wickets.
Pathan sprayed the new ball around and conceded four wides as he went for 35 runs in three overs. With each bowler allowed only four overs in the gameís shortest version, Pathan could not undo the early damage.
Pathanís first over went for 13 runs and his second cost him 12. Pathan, who didnít take part for India in the World Cup, smashed the second ball he faced for a six, but was trapped in front of his stumps by Rohit Sharma after making 9.
At the Ferozshah Kotla ground in Delhi, Sehwag too didnít fire. He went to the World Cup with a question mark over his place in the side but scored a ton against Bermuda. On Tuesday, all he could manage was four runs against Himachal Pradesh. His off-spin fetched him one wicket but his four overs cost him 31 runs.
The other hard-hitting Indian batsman on display, wicketkeeper Dhoni, who scored 0, 29 and 0 in the World Cup, came a cropper when he scored just 1 in Jharkhandís 11-run loss to Orissa.
However, Karnatakaís Robin Uthappa, who failed to justify the confidence the team management placed in him at the World Cup, smashed 36 runs off just 28 balls, a knock that contained four boundaries and one sixer.
Dinesh Karthik, part of the World Cup squad, also managed to get some runs under his belt. His 34 included three boundaries and one sixer. With the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup to be hosted by South Africa in September, the Board of Control for Cricket in India which initially was lukewarm about the introduction of the Twenty20 game, had to relent, courtesy pressure from the International Cricket Council. BCCI was out-voted 10-1 with regard to the introduction of the Twenty20 World Cup at an ICC meeting last year and were forced into adopting the format.
Meanwhile, an all-round performance by promising Rohit Sharma (40 n.o. and 3-15) helped Mumbai beat Baroda by eight wickets in their West Zone Twenty20 opener. Baroda were never in the game as they lost wickets at regular intervals after Mumbai chose to field. Baroda opener Rishikesh Parab top-scored with 38. In chase of 108 for a win, Mumbai won by the 17th over.