Friday, 21 March 2008

Ben on...ICL reviewed

The 2008 edition of the ICl 20-20 tournament is in full swing (Parore has just sealed victory for the Chennai Superstars by whipping off the bails to stump Ali Murtaza). So I'd better finish my review of the 2007 tournament before my review of the current one is due.

2007 ICL 20-20 Indian Championship

You may have missed reports of this tournament, either because you didn't care about it or because hardly anyone gave it any attention. Since Mike on Cricket sometimes follows the fortunes of NZers playing county cricket, I thought it would be only fair to do the same for the Kiwis in the ICL.

The 2007 ICL Championship was taken out by the only team that didn't (at the time) feature any New Zealanders, the Chennai Superstars, edging out Chris Cairns' Chandigarh Lions by 12 runs in the final.

Several of the New Zealanders acquitted themselves very well. Craig McMillan was one of the leading run scores, with 215 runs at 35.83 with a SR of 138.7. Chris Cairns also did well, with 141 runs at 23.5 with an SR of 158.42. Amongst the bowlers, Nathan Astle stood out with 10 wickets at 16.3 (to go with a fairly disappointing batting effort with an average of 16.2). McMillan proved himself to be a 20-20 all-rounder with 6 wickets at 20.33. Chris Harris also put in a steady but unspectacular performance with a batting average of 26.66 and a bowling average of 35.66. Daryl Tuffey was the stand-out bowler for the Chandigarh Lions, with 9 wickets at 18.44 (economy of 5.92). The only real disappointment was Hamish Marshall who scored 67 runs at 9.57 (though twice as many as Brian Lara).

So, it's great to see Kiwis making an impact. Nice to know the old guys Cairns and Harris have still got it and that the other guys can still mix it with the best.

Macca's performance was of course the stand out of the NZers, with outstanding batting figures, good bowling results and captaining his team the Kolkata Tigers to the top of the points table (though they ended up fourth after the play-offs). This is all bitter-sweet however. While there is nothing more exciting in cricket than McMillan on fire, he's doing it where we can't see it. Considering also his incredible performance at the World Twenty20, he is clearly in the form of his life. However, when Macca is on fire, he burns brightly – he might very well not have made another World Cup for example. However, he could have been in form for a couple more Chappell–Hadlee's like his last, and surely a couple of hundred against the Aussies are immeasurably sweeter than any amount of runs in an already forgotten tournament in a half-baked league.

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