Perth’s pitch scorched for T20 World Cup | Cricket News


The fast-paced Optus Stadium pitch upended traditional notions of bat-dominant ball in T20s, making for enjoyable viewing
ADELAIDE: Bas de Leede will be scarred for the rest of his life from Sunday’s Optus Stadium crash, but just a day later the Dutch cricketer can afford a sheepish grin as he waits to board his flight at Perth Airport.
The injury under his right eye, courtesy of Pakistan pacer Harris Rauf, looks even more horrible up close. Bas can still barely see through the eye, but his hands instinctively play again the pull shot that failed him. “I tried to pull, but the ball was too fast. The pitch was too fast,” he says.
It was in fact a nightmare of a past. Imagine the sixth over of the Netherlands’ innings. De Leede faces Rauf only to be greeted by a 147km/h scorcher angling in. The batter knocks it off somehow. The second ball is too quick to work off the pads and hits him on the body. Third ball, beaten with pace. Fourth ball, fuller and well played. The fifth ball rises up from the depths like a Balrog, and as an unwise De Leede tries the pull shot, he is hit on the grille just below the right eye by a 142kph missile.
There is a deep cut that immediately begins to bleed. The batter looks dazed and acts hurt.
“I got four stitches. I got off lightly. I didn’t feel like I had a concussion and they asked me a few questions, but I started feeling really nauseous so I was asked not to go out again, ” says de Leede.
As he carefully takes the first seat on the plane, De Leede still thinks about how he could have played that shot well. He should rather think how lucky he is.
Later in the day, India’s cricketers, more adept at playing ferocious pace, would not appear to be injured, but nevertheless struggled to put away South Africa’s pace troika, with most of them using the horizontal batting perished.
All but Suryakumar Yadav, of course, who found innovative ways to counter-attack.
India’s match, the second of the day, was effectively over when Lungi Ngidi ran through the top order to stagger Rohit Sharma’s men at 49/5 by the ninth over. But it made for some exciting viewing! Parnell bowling a maiden first to KL Rahul. A preliminary Rohit poked and prodded at three balls from Rabada before unleashing a goosebump-inducing hook that lasted for six. A run-down caught-and-built chance just two balls later! Only the first two overs provided more excitement than a series of bilateral T20Is on formal 240-plus belts.
Rohit, Kohli, Pandya all fell on the bounce and tried to hook but failed to hold it. Only Suryakumar stepped out like a pirate with a cut, ready to tame the high seas. He flashed! He nonchalantly flicked a 143km/h delivery from Nortje behind square for six! When Ngidi went wide of the off stump, he stroked it over fine leg! Soon came a 50 off 30 balls. . . probably the best of Suryakumar’s budding career.
It didn’t lead to an India win but stole the limelight away from the pacers long enough to make for a memorable game. Arshdeep’s electric swings shifted the momentum back to the bowlers in front of David Miller and Aiden Markram tipped the scales again.
Asked the key to surviving on this pitch, Markram simply said: “A bit of luck. We expected those lengths. We expected the bounce. But it can still make batsmen look stupid. Just because of of the nature of the bounce, the pull and hook shot will be difficult to play.”
But you would have to play it anyway because it is T20. And pray your eyes and reflexes and bat swing were all on point because for a short while the pace bowler was king of all he measured. Just ask Bas de Leede.


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