Virtual Cricket Tournament 2020: Talking points from the knockouts
On the final day of the Virtual Cricket Tournament 2020, ENG, NZ, AUS and IND were the teams left to duke it out in the knockouts. There were some memorable performances in the simulated reality league cricket tournament, and we look at what transpired throughout the day and bring you the summary of each game.
ENG v NZ, first semi-final: ENG won by seven runs
Just like in Match 14 earlier in the day, ENG once again opted to bat first after winning the toss and just like in that virtual cricket match, the top order comprising James Butler, Jackson Bairstow and Ian Morgan each made healthy double-digit contributions toward a 58/1 tally.
NZ had a rocky start by comparison, with Markus Guptill falling to Jofra Archibald in the first over. While Ken Williamson came in and got a decent partnership going with Callum Munro, there were a few too many dot balls and singles for them to make any real dent in the target set by ENG, who went through to the final.
AUS v IND, second semi-final: IND won by 15 runs
Unlike ENG, AUS chose to field after winning the toss. IND openers Rohan Sharma and Shikhar Dhaven took full advantage of this. Dhaven, in particular, went berserk, scoring five boundaries and a sixer en route to an 11-ball 30.
With a 62-run target set for them, AUS skipper Armand Finch put up an admirable 14-ball 31 but fellow opener Daniel Werner played far too conservatively, fetching just 15 runs off 16-balls. With this imbalance in strike-rates between the two men, their 46-run stand fell a long way off the mark, allowing IND to slot into the final.
ENG v IND, final: IND won by 20 runs
IND opted to bat first, and while Rohan Sharma, usually dependable for big scores in such crucial e-cricket matches, failed to replicate his heroics from earlier in the day and was out for a single, Shikhar Dhaven continued where he had left off in the semi-final, with yet another stellar knock. Batting at No. 2, Dhaven whacked off an incredible ten boundaries along with a trio of sixes, with his 21-ball 59 contributing the lion’s share of IND’s 67/3 haul.
ENG’s well-oiled machinery which had been humming along until this point seemed to have run out of lubrication in the final of this virtual cricket tournament. With James Butler an early casualty, it set the tone for the rest of ENG’s innings, as they struggled to put runs on the board. With their final score standing at 47/3, a whopping 21 off the target, it was IND who hoisted the Virtual Cricket Tournament 2020 trophy.