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Bowlers beware! High totals loom in T20 World Cup

If the bigger boundaries at most grounds have lifted the spirits of bowlers converging on Australia for the T20 World Cup, they do well to temper their optimism with a flood of runs predicted by some from the tournament’s Super 12 stage.

Cricket’s shortest format is unapologetically batter-biased and bowlers, often cast as cannon-fodder, derive nearly as much delight from a dot ball as they would from a dismissal in one-dayers or Tests.

Ground dimensions, however, suggest shots that would clear the boundary in most stadiums in the sub-continent and New Zealand, might not even make the rope in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead, however, expects that bowlers will still have their work cut out when the world’s best batmen start firing.

“I think what T20 cricket has certainly done is made teams much more comfortable in chasing bigger scores,” the 50-year-old said on Sunday.

“So yeah, you’re going to have to bowl very, very well if you are defending scores of 150-170 now, and that was shown through the tri-series (in Christchurch) as well.”

Having played in the inaugural World Cup in 2007, India captain Rohit Sharma has seen close at hand how the game has evolved over the years and he believes the trend towards higher totals is likely to continue even in Australia.

“You can literally see how it is played now compared to what it was like in 2007,” Rohit said at the pre-tournament captains’ news conference.

“140 or 150 was a good score back then and now people try and get that score in 14 or 15 overs.

“Teams take more risks (now) without worrying about the result and I think that is a good way to play this format.”

That is how inaugural champions India would play under him in the tournament, the 35-year-old added.

“This is the kind of format where there is risk, but there are high rewards as well,” he added.

“We have got to be brave enough to take those risks and certainly be prepared to do that as well.”

India’s preparation included devising ways to score freely even when hitting sixes is not that easy – as they found during practice matches in Perth and Brisbane where several batters were caught near the rope.

“You have to be smart when you plan your batting on grounds like these,” Rohit explained.

“Hitting boundaries and sixes, of course, sounds nice, but you cannot forget pushing the ball in the gap, running between the wickets really hard and trying to get eight-nine runs in an over.”

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