Saturday, 15 October 2011

New powerplay rule promises run feast!

India have beaten England in the first ODI yesterday in Hyderabad by 126 runs. Yesterday was also the day when the new ICC rule of having the batting and bowling powerplays necessarily between the 15th and 40th overs was applied for the first time. Result- the rule completely favoured the batsmen. India scored 300 runs and half of those runs came in the last 15 overs including the powerplay overs of 35-40. So does the rule tilt the game more and more in batsmen's favour or is it a nice rule to make the captain think even more or is it a mere crowd pulling strategy to save ODI cricket? Lets checkout the implications of the rule.

1. Run Fest rule- This rule does one thing for sure. It favours the batting team and promises sixes and fours in the ending overs. Powerplays are meant to favour batsmen so that runs are scored quickly. But the new rule says that apart from the first 10 mandatory powerplay overs, the rest 2 have to be taken in between the 15th and 40th overs. The bowling team earlier used to get rid of the  bowling powerplay as soon as the mandatory one ended unless too many runs were scored in the first one while the batting team used to take it in the last 10 overs to hit as many runs as possible. But now the new rule means that the bowling team would have to risk the powerplay at times when batsmen are set and raring to go. For the batting team it would be an extension to the overs they virtually have to hit mercilessly. The last 10 overs are always more or less powerplays for the batting team. Add to that the first 10 and the 10 in the middle. So effectively 30 high scoring overs are expected in each match. This was clearly visible in the India-England match. India were 150-4 at 35 overs.India took the powerplay and in the next 15 overs 150 more runs were added. Had the rule not been there India would have taken it after the 40th over most probably and maybe so many runs would not have been scored. So the game has turned more hostile for the bowlers.

2. Think skipper think- This rule has also made captaincy tougher. The skipper's decision has become very important in taking the powerplays. Earlier 9 out of 10 times the bowling skipper took the bowling powerplay immediately after the 10th over and got rid of it. But now he has to think when to take it after the 15th over. He cannot take it straightaway after the 15th over if the batsmen are set. He would have to take it at an appropriate time and also he would have to bowl his best bowlers at that time and maybe that might lead to dearth of good bowlers in the ending overs. So the skipper has to take all that into account. Same holds for the batting team. They can't just simply take it in the last 5-10 overs and hit the ball all around the park. He would have to take it at a time when the batsmen are set while the wickets are in hand and also the best bowlers would be in operation so maybe they might lose wickets and not score much runs in the ending overs. Thus the rule makes the game more strategic and interesting.

3. Crowd puller rule- Well this is the reason why ICC has implemented this rule. ODI's are fast losing popularity to T20 cricket. To make them interesting i.e. to incorporate more sixes and fours and wickets in the game the rule was made so that high scoring games become more frequent than ever. The India-England game showed that even after a slow and sloppy start, a team can get to 300 runs courtesy the new powerplay rule. It surely would pull the crowds but then this is bound to have serious impact on bowlers as the game is turning more and more into a batsman's game.

It is for the fans to decide, which is better? The old powerplay rule or the new one?? 

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