A team may be blessed with the fastest bowlers, most destructive batsmen, wiliest spinners and sharpest fielders, but will the fate of the T20 World Cup rest merely on the outcome of the coin toss?
Until Friday, nine out of 10 second-round Super 12 matches at the tournament had been won by the team batting second.
The only exception was Afghanistan’s 130-run rout of Scotland in Sharjah where they won the toss, batted first, piled up 190 before dismissing their opponents for just 60 in a shade over 10 overs.
On Thursday, opening batsman David Warner led Australia to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Dubai with opposition bowlers having few answers in a night match played in heavy, humid conditions.
Warner admitted batting second remains an advantage after he hit form with 65 off 42 deliveries.
“I think just being able to assess bowling first what you have to do from a batting group, I think that gives you a little bit of the upper edge,” said Warner.
“But then again, if someone gets 190 or 200, you’re going to have to go hard. I think if you bat you’ve got to have the intent, even when you bat first.
“You actually have to try and assess as fast as you can and try and put an above-par total, especially out here.”
Maheesh Theekshana returned wicketless from his four overs of mystery spin and although Wanindu Hasaranga took two wickets, Australia eased to their 155-run victory target in 17 overs.
However, Theekshana played down the importance of the coin toss that seems to play a key role across the three venues in the UAE.
“Actually I don’t think like that because there was no dew today,” Theekshana said on being asked about the trend of winning the toss and winning the match. “It was a good wicket. They were better than us.”
Apart from Afghanistan, Bangladesh have been the only team in the second stage to have opted to bat first after winning the toss.
The under-performing Tigers got a below-par 124-9 as England overhauled the total with 35 balls and eight wickets to spare in Abu Dhabi.
India captain Virat Kohli awaits his team’s second match of the tournament on Sunday but had predicted that the toss would be crucial in the tournament.
“The toss is definitely going to be a big factor in this tournament especially if dew keeps creeping in the latter half of the game,” Kohli said after India’s opening 10-wicket loss to rivals Pakistan. “You need those extra runs in the first half.”
On Friday, Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah Riyad won the toss against the West Indies in Sharjah and continued the trend by also electing to bowl first.
He will hope he’s right as a third defeat in the Super 12s will rule them out of making the semi-finals.
© Agence France-Presse