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Crunch time in T20 Challenge

At the start of the MiWay T20 Challenge, there would have been aspirations for each and every franchise of making the coveted top spot in order to seal that lucrative place in the Champions League T20 competition before moving on to the business of actually trying to win the tournament in the final. Well, this week of matches is going to just about seal the fate of most teams, so it's a crucial time.

Right at the start of the tournament many spoke of how the format of the competition allowed those that did not begin particularly well to catch up and turn their campaign around because of the home and away matches rather than just one round. Well, there will be some who will be hoping to get on a roll in their final three matches so as to end up in first, second or third by the time the their twelve preliminary games have been played.

Whilst one can get into the groove of winning, it is also fair to say that a losing streak can be very difficult to halt, especially in this version of the game where a game could be over in a quick flash and before you know it, you are down again. Such has been the case for the New Age Impi. They just have not managed to fire and have thus not won a single game.

I believe that they were on a hiding to nothing because of the way that things were done regarding their team. They had no time to prepare their team at all and also kept having players removed from their squad as they were needed back at their home franchise to cover for an injury. It shows therefore that the only players who really were the Impi’s were the overseas professionals as they were the only ones permanent for the competition.

My belief was that the seventh franchise would be an opportunity for young talent, who would not otherwise play in their own franchises, to experience the pressure and buzz of what is the most important competition in terms of money for the domestic sides. The young players would not otherwise get an opportunity to play as they are down in the pecking order at their own teams. In fact, there is a case for playing some of the experienced players who are on the fringes too.

Whilst some coaches and boards, in their planning of who they could release to the Impi, might have been afraid that one of their own might orchestrate their downfall, it is worthwhile to note that those released might well have gained some much-needed experience in playing rather than being ‘kept at home’ so to speak. This experience would come in handy for the franchise as they always will have first say on the player.

If the Impi’s inclusion was to improve the competition, there had to be an effort to make sure that they were a good team and not just the whipping boys for all the other teams. As it turns out, those that have had their fixtures against the New Age Impi rained out will feel very unlucky as it is fair to assume that they would have collected those points had the game actually gone ahead.

All this must be a lesson for next season if the seventh franchise is to be in the competition again.

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