The Champions League T20 seems a long way from the cricket we play. But it is the same game with the same size pitch, balls and stumps.
It's just the players are a bit better. That aside, here are 5 universal things that we can take into our Twenty20 games:
1. It's not a batsman's game
There is an impression that bowlers are just cannon-fodder for the 8-an-over batters with giant bats.
The fact is, with good bowling you can take wickets and have sides three or four down after 10 overs. It's hard to claw back a good score with so many top players out of the match.
Make sure you know the value of your wicket, it might be less than a longer game but it still has an effect when wickets fall.
2. You still need your best batters in early
Even in T20 you can bide your time at the top, keep wickets in hand and explode at the end. You can keep it ticking quite late if you know how to work the ball around.
This works well if you have a finisher like MS Dhoni.
That said, your best batsmen need to bat high enough in the order to give them time and space to win the game.
3. Good bouncers work
Bouncers are tough to bowl. You need pace and you need accuracy, or you can end up in the bleachers. But used sparingly, it disturbs a batter in any format.
If you, or someone in your team, can bowl bouncers then it's vital to use them. The IPL final saw a catch at backward short leg from one.
Yes. In T20.
In a final.
The bouncer takes pace, practice and the right wicket. So don't enter it lightly, but if you can get it up to the throat you absolutely should.
4. Yorkers still work
There is no surprise that the yorker is still the number one variation. We once said that if you can hit six yorkers an over you can write your own cheque and it's still true.
"Momentum" is certainly an overused word, but in a match there are moments where the game balance shifts and you can gain a psychological advantage. Those moments are very likely to be made from a yorker.
If you only have one variation, spear it in at the toes.
5. Practice more when you are winning
Player comments in the press are cliché-ridden nonsense 99% of the time. The facts come on the field. However, I did hear this recently:
"We have worked hard together. There were optional practice days because of travelling and the entire team would come and practice."
Now, saying you train hard is certainly not a new idea, but what was interesting (if it's true) is that even though the side were winning, they stepped up their training.
For most teams, it's the opposite way around; with increasing desperation for results leading to more "naughty boy nets". But when you are going well, high on confidence and feeling in form, you have space to improve even further. You can learn extra variation or shot.
Take advantage of your purple patch and have extra training. You never know how good you might get.
You may even win your version of the Champions League T20.
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