T20 quartet on losing wicket
YESTERDAY'S matches in the Champions League T20 at the Wanderers were rendered irrelevant by events at Centurion on Wednesday. Except, that is, for the protagonists in cricket's continuing war on match-fixing, which thrives on dead rubbers.
"There is certainly no heightened sense of security around any particular match in this tournament and we have heard nothing to cause us additional concern," said a source in the tournament's organisational structure who cannot be named for security reasons.
"But, during the Hansie Cronje era, when cricket was under attack from matchfixers, these would be the kind of matches that would be targeted for illicit activity.
"So, if a player on his way home wants to take a chance, he would think he would have an opportunity to do so in these matches."
The Auckland Aces and Yorkshire won their qualifying matches on Wednesday to clinch the two available berths in the tournament proper, which starts tomorrow.
That made for a funereal atmosphere at the Wanderers yesterday, where all four teams who were in action had lost their first games.
When rain ended the first game prematurely Sri Lanka's Uva Next were 0/1 after one ball, chasing Trinidad & Tobago's 181/3. Later Sialkot Stallions of Pakistan were due to take on Hampshire.
Everyone knew their time would have been better spent packing their bags or shopping for mementos. In fact, less than an hour before the start of Trinidad's match, some of its officials were buying shirts from souvenir stalls at the stadium.
If Uva's Andrew McDonald had his way, the shopping spree would have had to wait.
"It's a long way to come to play two games," McDonald said. "There's got to be a better way - maybe have four teams in each group in the qualifier and play three games each. It's hard to get the momentum going if you're only playing two games, and if you lose the first one, you're up against it."
The Wanderers was all but deserted of spectators yesterday, but crowds should pick up for the Highveld Lions' match against the Mumbai Indians on Sunday.
Tomorrow , the Titans take on the Perth Scorchers at Centurion.