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Format gets shakeup with addition of Twenty20

The increasingly popular form of Twenty20 cricket is about to hit the Southland club competition.

Southland Cricket officials have given the format for the 2007-08 club season a shakeup, which includes scrapping the two-day competition in an attempt to boost interest in the sport in the south.

The longer form of the game had become tiresome for many players in the province. Instead, this season’s club competition, which starts on Saturday, will feature the inclusion of the high-paced Twenty20 format and an extra round of 50-over-a-side cricket.

The shortened form of the game, in which teams bat for just 20 overs each, seemed to grab the public’s attention during the recent World Cup held in South Africa, and Southland Cricket executive officer Richard Hoskin said he hoped it would rub off in Southland.

“It has caught us all a bit by surprise by how much interest there has been in Twenty20 cricket,” he said yesterday.

There had been an overwhelming support at a club forum recently to scrap the two-day form of the game and introduce more limited-overs cricket, Hoskin said.

He conceded there may be a downside to the revised format, with promising young players unable to get a shot at batting and bowling in the longer form of the game.

The six club teams will play each other twice during a three-week period in the Twenty20 competition, with two rounds being played in a day. The competition will start on January 12, with the top two teams squaring off in the final on January 26.

As a result of the compact form of the Twenty20 championship, an extra round of 50-overs cricket will be played, meaning each team will play each other three times before the top teams meet in the final on March 8.

The club season will get under way with the 50-over-a-side form of the game on Saturday, when Invercargill-Old Boys take on defending champion Central-Western in Winton, Marist will play Southland Boys’ High School at Marist and Appleby will square off against the Metropolitan Tigers at Appleby.

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Categories: Cricket News, Twenty20
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