T20 WC: Why need 20 sixes, asks Nortje

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 04, 2024 IST

Anrich Nortje

New York, June 4: The shortest format of the game is not only about bang-bang cricket always. It is not about hitting 20 sixes to make the game interesting.

This reaction came from South African pacer Anrich Nortje, who delivered his career-best T20I figures of 4 wickets for 7 runs in his four-over quota and was adjudged Man of the Match against Sri Lanka.

Nortje believes that hitting 20 sixes doesn't make the match entertaining instead it's a strategy that goes into the game. He spearheaded South Africa to a tense victory over Sri Lanka, despite challenging pitch conditions. 

The low-scoring encounter, played at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, saw Sri Lanka dismissed for just 77 runs, with South Africa narrowly overcoming the target after a nervy chase.

"It doesn't always mean, correct me if I'm wrong, there needs to be 20 sixes in a game to make it entertaining. There's still a lot of strategy that goes into the game. There's a lot of skill that goes into the game, whether it's sixes or fast bowlers or spinners, however it might be. So, I thought the game was a brilliant game. It was still a close game at the end of the day, another wicket or two, and things might have been different. We might have been in a little bit more trouble," said Nortje post-match conference.

Despite the challenges of uneven pitch and slow outfield, South Africa's players adapted to the conditions, with some walking out of practice sessions due to the unpredictability of the nets.

"We didn't know it [the pitches] is all from the same [time]," Nortje said. "We sort of assumed that they're coming from the same, let me call it, factory. But yes, it was a little bit up and down in the nets as well. We need to train as well as the batters also need to train.

"It's not always nice to go out and face balls jumping up, I think you adapt to it on the day and rather work on what you want to in the nets. And that's why I think one or two of the guys eventually walked out, but they were still batting facing us. Also you don't want to get hit. And a day before the game, you want to sort of go through your routines as a batter and they were fresh and spicy as well," said Nortje.

The New York venue's conditions were a point of discussion, with ten drop-in pitches brought in for the World Cup, four for the main venue and six for the training facility. While India also trained on these pitches, and head coach Rahul Dravid noted they had settled a bit after initial liveliness. Despite mixed feedback, Nortje believed that there was nothing wrong with the pitches.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with the wickets. It's (allowed to be) nice for bowlers as well. We are also allowed to get some sort of assistance. It's different to what guys have been used to for the last few months or years. There's a little bit more in the wicket for the bowlers and I don't see anything wrong with that.

"When it's flat, people want to see sixes…so the wheels should turn a little bit somewhere. I don't know what to expect in the next few weeks. It might get a little bit flatter. It might get a little bit slower, faster. Who knows? I'm not the expert on it, but I think our biggest thing is just to sort of adapt to whatever gets thrown in front of us in the next game again. See in the first over what to expect and try and adjust as best as possible," he said.

Heinrich Klaasen, who alleviated South Africa's nerves with a crucial six and a four off a single Wanindu Hasaranga over, acknowledged the difficulty of the pitch but echoed the sentiment that it still made for an entertaining game.

"I don't think it's ideal for T20 cricket, but it's still a good entertaining game," he said. "Nevertheless our bowlers bowled extremely well. The margin for error for the bowlers is also not as big as you think. It's not easy for the batters. It took like almost a mixture of Test cricket, one-day, batting-wise to get over the line. Luckily we didn't chase 120. That would've been very interesting," said Klaasen.

If Nortje's remarks about the game is to be respected and accepted, then bowler-friendly tracks, bigger boundaries and change in mindset of fans are must. If both the bowlers and batters get level playing field and a nice balance is maintained then it would not be too rude for bowlers in the T20 format. (With IANS support) 

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