Oh Twenty20 finals day, the most glorious, high-octane, nutty day of cricket in entire, long, boring, too-much-cricket county season. It’s so crazy, someone wise once told The Leading Edge that every single ball, every single ball, either goes for a six, or sees the batsman clean bowled. Not only that, not only that, but this wondrous exhibition of bludgeoning batting and tumbling stumps is wonderfully supplemented by the absolutely insane mouth-watering possibility of a mascot-race and a documentary about Kerry Packer and WSC (which is a repeat). I can barely contain the excitement.
Clearly, this is worth not only sitting on the sofa all day, but also missing the beginning of the football season. Crikes. To see if this meets expectations, The Leading Edge will deliver a magnificent text-based highlights package, all equipped with an ‘excitement rating’. Yes!
11:11AM – The highlight of any Sky Sports cricket coverage is always, literally always, Nasser Hussian’s little analysis and explanation of how to play the pitch. Wielding his mighty axe at the very top of the handle, he jumps and hops around as if he’s walking on fiery coals: the odd overly positive forward defence there, a ridiculously technique-less swivel pull. It is absolutely disgusting, and quite hilarious. Not only could the ball ‘get through his gate’, as it were, due to his appalling technique, but a small child could actually drop to their knees and crawl through it. England’s old captain supremo now a ridiculous jumping-jack. He genuinely looks like the worst batsman, ever. No wonder he averaged under 40. Excitement rating: 10/10.
11:33AM – With Sussex bowling first in the game against Northants, Yasir Arafat comes onto bowl, sharing the new ball with Luke Wright (Sky Sports Sussex Sharks Dangerman™). My pulse is no more than a dull occasional thud. What we need is a Dean Jones style racist joke about Arafat’s role in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. I can feel the strain in David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd’s voice as he restrains such a joke, we’re clearly on the same wavelength. Just the prospect is a little titilating, but only a little. Excitement rating: 2/10.
12:06PM – What is it with young, spritely, jockeyish, slightly ginger Irish players and reverse sweeps? Niall O’Brien seems to actually know only one shot, and I’ll never forget young Eion Morgan reverse sweeping every damn ball in an ODI against the Windies, getting out after 5 balls or something. The Irish are so crazy. Well, their either crazy or Ed Joyce or William Porterfield (see what I mean?) Excitement rating: 3/10
12:40PM – 92mp/h yorker from Yasir Arafat. Enough said. Still no Palestine/Israel gag, I’m very disappointed. That would have been the perfect opportunity. Excitement rating: 5/10
13:16PM – I love Rory Hamilton-Brown. His sporting hero is ‘Luke Wright’. Funny lad. Excitement rating: 8/10
14:30PM – Whilst Michael Atherton is waxing lyrical about the wonders of Somerset’s Peter Trego, a spectator in the background is proper falling asleep – not even just nodding off – proper, hardcore, head rolling, disgusting falling asleep. His head rolls back! Now forward! Now slouches to the side! Utter madness. Excitement rating: 9/10.
14:58PM – Big Bobby Key coming out to bat. Again, enough said. Excitement rating: 10/10.
15:45PM – Big Bobby bowled by Peter Trego. Excitement rating: N/A
16:28PM – First genuine cricket related excitement as Trescothick creams 4 boundaries in a row. Cliched, but oh how England could do with him now, especially in one day cricket. Can’t fault the way he plays: minimal footwork, slashes at the ball as hard as possible. Class. Excitement rating: 7/10
17:25PM – Big Bobby not happy. His face is all velvety and disgusting, I would keep my distance from him incase his flaming cheek blubber exploded and burnt me. Scary times indeed. Let’s hope we don’t have a repeat of the Twenty20 Finals Day a couple of years ago. Excitement rating: 7/10
20:02PM – Dwayne Smith is a throbbing super freak of a man. Why not hit a yorker straight down the ground for six? Why not indeed? Nice to see some actually exciting cricket! I can barely contain myself after 9 hours of mostly dull, bog-standard county one-day cricket. Excitement rating: 9/10
20:11PM – Are reverse sweeps the worst thing ever? Just went Dwayne was hitting beautifully down the ground, he goes for the most all-mighty of reverse swings, and gets stumped. It’s a bit like a Formula 1 driver absolutely cruising it, and then deciding to actually start driving in reverse gear, for no real reason, then losing, by an absolute mile. Now we have the tantalising thought of Chris Nash and Michael Yardy nudging singles for 3-an-over. Glorious. Or perhaps not. Excitement rating: 1/10
EST20:30PM – Oops. I fell asleep, obviously the cut and thrust of seeing Sussex absolutely rump to a win wasn’t thrilling enough – I actually I missed the end. Excitement rating: 2/10.
Summary – Twenty20 Finals Day, one of those days where the entire nation stands still to hold hands, drink beer and croon over the crème de la crème of county cricket (Sussex, Somerset and Kent) plus the South African ‘C’ team (Northants). In cricketing terms, it notably was stale, with the notable exception of an innings from Trescothick and Smith. Where’s the IPL? Excitement rating: 4/10.