The T20 World Cup is underway and the shortest format of Cricket is an exciting one as the fans are thrilled with the number of sixes and fours that pours. This usually leads to high scores. The T20 World Cup matches are set to move to the UAE after the initial group stage games in Oman. The low-scoring games in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League(IPL) weren’t a great way of advertisement when it comes to building viewership. As the Sharjah Cricket Stadium gears up to host its first game of the T20 World Cup on Friday, all eyes are on the wickets.
T20 World Cup has to produce high-scoring matches to retain viewers
Interestingly, four matches were played in Abu Dhabi and while two games had batsmen scoring runs, two games saw low scores. The stakeholders are hopeful for the ground staff to have worked out in the eight days after the last IPL game in Sharjah on October 13. The first T20 World Cup game at the venue will take place on Friday between Ireland and Namibia.
It turns out that the industry sources keeping the TV viewership patterns in mind noted that while a hardcore cricket analyst might be as intensely connected to a low-scoring game as he/she is to a high-scoring T20 match. But the general fans love watching sixes and fours and relevant wickets – top batsmen. Thus, retaining viewers will be a challenge if pitches don’t produce high scores.
ANI reported that a source told them: “The difference in viewership isn’t much between a game which has scores of 160-180 or a 150-180 score and a 200 to 250 score. But the difference between a game where only 130-135 has been scored and a game that has 170 is massive as the belief is that action for viewers to consume is sixes, fours and wickets. Nobody will mind a 180 all out with 10 wickets falling as there is a lot of action. But if you get 120 all out, that is perceived to be a boring game because not enough sixes and fours have been hit.
“Relevant action is sixes, fours and wickets that count – till batsman number five or six. A lower-order batsman hitting a six excites fans more than a number 9 batsman getting dismissed by a beautiful delivery.”
Another industry source went on to describe how the viewership pattern builds to further explain the reason for the need to have high-scoring games. The source noted that “T20 has to be accepted as a sport as an entertainment format first” and the match should “engage viewers”.