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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Twenty20 Cup: The verdict
Comparison graphic
In less than two weeks of crazy cricket, the first wave of the Twenty20 Cup is over and finals day on 19 July is officially a sell-out.

It means there will be a total audience of 255,000 for the whole competition.

Excluding the final, there's already been a massive 353% rise on the group stages compared to last year's Benson & Hedges Cup which it replaced.

So far, the cheerleaders have turned up on cue, the beer-pumps have flowed freely and the sun has even shone.

But most pertinently of all, the one thing the England and Wales Cricket Board had really wanted, domestic cricket finally attracted a broad demographic.

So what do the players and county chiefs make of the new format?

Player's view
Neil Carter
Warwickshire Bears all-rounder

Neil Carter
Carter enjoyed his first taste of Twenty20 cricket

"We had over 10,000 in the ground for our first game and pretty close to that in our second match.

"All the small counties we played against had packed houses every game and the age group was a lot younger.

"There were a lot more females, and kids and their parents - the sort of people who normally don't appear at all. You normally just get the older types.

"In the batting, my job was to use the pace of the ball early on. There was a bit of bounce out there and a lot of improvising comes into it.

"The four matches we won were all after we set a target.

"If you do bat first, taking wickets early on is very important to get the other side under a hell of a lot of pressure.

"There's pressure anyway batting second if you are chasing more than 150, and myself and Waqar Younis were just trying to strike with wickets up front.

"Field placings are very different than in 50 overs. In Twenty20 you would never start with more than one slip. Instead, fine leg is always up because people are sweeping.

"Each captain seemed to have his own plans but I noticed a lot of team were bowled out in less than 20 overs.

"It could be very interesting switching to four-day Championship cricket now. I think the batters might have to wait a bit longer!

County boss's view
Kevin Hill
Leicestershire Foxes general manager

"The popularity of the Twenty20 Cup has taken everybody by surprise. People have really bought into the competition and the contest as a whole.

"It's been clearly identified that we have a three-hour product. People like not having to sit around for hours and they like being able to come here in the evening.

"The ECB had identified an audience to target - it was young, it was families and they are essential future supporters of the club.

"If we can get people in here we have a chance of getting them back. It was a delight to see so many young people and we hope they will move on to 45-over cricket.

"On a personal level, it helped that we kept on winning matches! We were delighted the match on Tuesday night was a vital game for us, and had an extra appeal to it."


SEE ALSO
Twenty20 Cup tables
24 Jun 03  |  Cricket
England's Twenty20 best
25 Jun 03  |  Cricket
Party time for cricket fans
14 Jun 03  |  Cricket
Foxes reach Twenty20 semis
24 Jun 03  |  Counties
Gladiators blast Glamorgan
24 Jun 03  |  Counties
Bears best of the rest
24 Jun 03  |  Counties
Hollioake smokes Hawks
24 Jun 03  |  Counties
How to play Twenty20 cricket
13 Jun 03  |  Cricket


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