Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Champions' League

Fantasy Bob was thrown into some kind of confusion yesterday.  Not in itself an event so unusual that it is worthy of reporting in itself, but you might as well have the chance to feel a little superior.  When he heard that Bangalore and Mumbai are to compete the Champions' League today, he could not recall when Barcelona and AC Milan were knocked out.  Several hours of diligent research informed him that this is the Nokia Champions' League, not the Champions' League (which he presumes must be the Not Nokia Champions' League).  You, feeling ever so superior, rightly chide him for not paying attention to the profusion of meaningless cricket competitions.   He is uncertain whether Nokia sponsored this particular competition by mistake, thinking it to be the Barcelona-type Champions' League, or as part of a grand strategy to raise interest in cricket in Finland, the land of Sibelius one of FB's all time favourite cricketers.  FB will recapture his feeling of superiority here by letting you know that while there are about 300 cricketers in Finland at the last count,  but Sibelius is not one of them.

Jean Sibelius - no fan of T20
As far as FB can gather, the Champions' League seems to be an event similar in many respects to the IPL.  It has the purpose of tiring out star Indian cricketers making them knackered and unprepared for coming matches with England.  There is therefore some point in them after all.

Mumbai enter the final having beaten Somerset in their semi-final.  Somerset - that is Somerset from Somerset, England - themselves had beaten various South African teams on their cup run which can only be to their credit. The familiar figure of Lasith Malinga may well have been the difference between the sides as he took 4 for 20 in a spell of yorkers, swingers and slower ones that seems only too familiar (or too familiar to Scottish batsmen anyway).

Malinga - too good for Somerset
Bangalore got into their semi-final against NSW through one of the closest matches imaginable.  For only a 6 off the last ball would win the match against South Australia.  And Arun Karthik duly obliged.  FB thinks that S Australia's position must be as near as you can get to winning, without actually winning.  For a 6 off the last ball is a statistical improbability.  Perhaps a 6 off the last ball to tie and take the match into a super over which itself left a 6 off the last ball to win would be closer - but equally improbable.

FB supposes that a six to win off the last ball has happened before but FB could not say when and where.  Certainly he has not played in a match with such a close finish although he has played in many last ball result matches.  Indeed, far be it for him to blow his own trumpet, but one of his finest efforts on the field of play was scoring 3 off the last ball in the rain and the dark on Edinburgh's Meadows to win a match.  Conditions that would have defeated such as Karthik.  FB supposes that needing 3 off the last ball is half as close as needing 6 off the last ball.  On that arithmetic - it may well have happened twice as often.  It is rare for FB to be such a hero.  He has more frequently been the bowler trying to prevent the winning runs.  No further comment is necessary - Malinga he isn't, as successive skippers have discovered as their awful mistake of throwing him the ball for the final over comes home to them.

Warner - 123 not enough
Bangalore have made a habit of chasing down 200plus scores - they did this against both NSW and Australia.  This is meant to be some kind of record.  Having a batting line up including Gayle, Dilshan and Kohli helps.  Against NSW Gayle blasted 92 off 41 balls.  David Warner had made 123 for NSW.  Gayle will be partnering Warner shortly in the Sydney Thunderers in yet another meaningless T20 tournament - the Big Bash.  For all FB knows this might be sponsored by Nokia too - he thinks it unlikely that Barcelona will be playing.  Or Sibelius.

1 comment:

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