Archive for the ‘new zealand’ Category

Man, that was so bad! It’s taken me some time to recover, which is the reason for the 2 day delay.

I mean, was Mahela Jayawardene playing on one strip and the other Lankan batsmen on another?

Mahela, the purist, plays an aggressive knock of 81 off 51 (SR 158), while Dilshan, the flamboyant and inventive batsman, makes 3 off 19 (SR 15).

I had to admit, after the raining fours and sixes in the IPL, the slowness of the pitch was hard to absorb as runs were hard to come by.

After crying hoarse (to myself, not on the blog ๐Ÿ˜› ) that bowlers are being unfairly dealt with in the IPL, it took some getting used to when the bowlers finally did get something going their way.

Mathews gave an absolutely fab start like how he did last year in the semi-final against West Indies. A wicket-maiden was the best possible way to start the innings. Though Chanaka did give it away a bit with 10 runs off the next over, it was still game.

However, New Zealand were getting into a similar position like SL when Jesse Ryder was seeing the ball clearly while the others seemed more like they needed a cataract operation.

His dismissal triggered a period where only 16 runs were scored in the next 6 overs.

Mendis bowls his last over, theย 17th over. This, IMO, was the turning point of the match.

At 16.4 overs, the situation was 38 runs from 20 balls.

At this point, I was feeling preeeety smug. Jacob Oram, who is a member of the club, “Most Overhyped Cricket Players”, was on strike. After him, there were only Hopkins, McNullum, Southee and Bond.

However, the 2 sixes that he struck in the last two balls (the second of which was one-handed), made the situation much more easier for the Kiwis. 26 from 18 is much more gettable.

The rest, as they say, is history, as Dan the Man sacrificed his wicket to ensure that McNullum (member of the club, “Most Underhyped Cricket Players”) took them home.

Now, TBH, I’m pretty worried.

Why?

We play the Zimbos tomorrow.

They have 3 spinners (4, if you include Greg Lamb) in their line-up. All of them are preeety good….

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This post, I should mention before anything else, was inspired by his innings of 70 off 49 in the 2nd ODI against Australia. He very nearly took them to victory before being the last man out with just 12 required from 10 balls.

I suppose this is something that everyone knows by now. However, I was inspired to write this post mainly due to the glint I saw in his eye when watching the highlights of that match (more specifically, his innings).

There was determination in those eyes. Those specs, along with the gruffy beard, might fool someone into thinking that Dan Vettori is someone who’s been in the game for 15 or so years, someone who has been carrying the burden of a team, nay, a sport, for all these years.

However, what those eyes don’t reveal to the ordinary person is the fact that he’s become the person he is just about 3 years ago.

I’m not coming to say that he was reckless before, drinking his way to stardom or anything like that. Instead, he was just a boring slow left arm bowler who plugged one end and took a fair number of wickets.

However, since he was handed the captaincy, first for the limited over teams in May ’07 and then for the tests in mid ’08, my respect for him has grown by leaps and bounds.

It’s hard for a captain when he is flooded in a sea of mediocrity. Andy Flower and Brian Lara have plenty of experience.

However, to actually become extremely proficient in batting while being the best bowler and the skipper of the team takes a lot of bloody-minded determination.

His batting has improved to such an extent that bowlers around the world are no longer willing to take it easy when they’ve got the 6th NZ wicket. Instead, they realize that the best is to come as the bearded sage with specs walks in.

Neither does he come in with a strut, nor does he do his whole exercise regime from the dressing room to the middle.

Instead, his walk to the crease is reminiscent of the kid who was called in to play for the street cricket team just a couple of minutes ago and isn’t exactly sure what he’s doing here.

However, don’t let that walk fool you as this guy has guts and determination running in his every vein. He’s the player who somehow manages to keep New Zealand from going the way of West Indies.

It’s extremely depressing for any team when the skipper is the best bowler and the best batsman (despite there being batsmen in the side who’ve been born with a bat in their hand). Heath Streak will have plenty of words of consolation for Dan.

Late last year, he got a place on the selection panel and, for about 4 months, he was the unofficial coach when NZC was searching for a replacement for Andy Moles (who was clearly outclassed even in coaching by Vettori).

For all this, he’s just 31 years!

Hard to believe, but it’s just one of those instances where you think “Man, this guy’s been around for as long as I remember”. That sums up my state as I’ve been following cricket seriously only since 2003 (and leisurely since 1999).

Even before he made his debut as a precocious 18 year old in 1997, there had been talk in the shires that this was a talent to watch. For a country which has a small cricket base (due to the pre-dominant interest in rugby), any word of big talent can spread like wildfire. For a country which had already seen talented cricketers like the legendary all-rounders Sir Richard Hadlee, John R Reid and Chris Cairns, as well as amazing batsmen like Bert Sutcliffe and Martin Crowe, any talk of good talent is bound to be on the money!

It’s taken 10 long years for Dan Vettori to fulfill his potential, but it’s been worth the wait.

Hats off to you, Dan the Man!

Yes, it’s been nearly 4 days since these pics were taken, but wanted to post them for the sake of doing so! ๐Ÿ™‚


Didn’t even know you were here, Grant Elliot!


Thilan Samaraweera and Chamara K(r)apugedara walk back after Mahela declares


Some good, light-hearted music off the field to compensate for lack of entertainment on the field!


Martin Guptill trudges back after promising a lot (28 off 32), yet disappointing!


Rangana Herath gets ready to bowl (the pic taken from beside the media box)

Got a ticket for the T20 today, hoping that I can get in without too much of a hassle! Will bring over some pictures from today’s game as well!

Pics have been taken from my phone, and they’ve come out small because the pics are originally of a high resolution. Will make sure to reduce the resolution today!

All due credit to Paul Ford of the Cricinfo blog ‘Different Strokes’ for the title, which aptly reflects what the BCCI have become.

Here’s another absolute classic from Dylan Cleaver of the New Zealand Herald..

It’s a truly absurd thing [for the BCCI] to flex their muscles in the commentary box for fear that Ravi Shastri (IPL) and Craig McMillan (ICL) might accidentally exchange bodily fluids that could eventually infect all the right-thinking people of the cricketing world.

The BCCI sure is stretching the limits of stupidity by ordering the NZC to withdraw Craig ‘Macca’ McMillian from the commentary box for the 1st test. Their biggest problem seems to be the fact that Ravi ‘Shaz’ Shastri is the gem of Sony Max (the broadcasters of the tour and of the IPL), and they don’t want an ICL player sitting beside him! I really think that someone has brainwashed all the officials of the BCCI into thinking that ICL players have some incurable disease (perhaps AIDS, with all due respect to people suffering from it) and that they might, by some chance, make someone else contract the disease just by standing beside them (which any right thinking person knows is not true).

I can vaguely understand the reasons for banning the ICL players from domestic cricket and the chance to represent India, but I think it is stretching the limits of absurdity to actually expect the world to do it.

Even before this stupid episode, the BCCI had asked Darryl Tuffey and Hamish Marshall to withdraw from the Auckland and Northern Districts teams respectively so that some of their test players could get some practice ahead of the test series. They did well by telling them to fuck off. However, the fact that the Indian board let the test players to play in the other teams contradicts their position because, since Tuffey and Marshall are still playing in the tournament, the NZ domestic competition should have been officially ‘ICL infected’!

Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik were also withdrawn from the curtain-raiser for the second T20i, which was supposed to be an exhibition match between 2 teams composed by the NZC because Karthik was set to play alongside Marshall. How stupid!

My apologies for not posting for nearly a week, I just started on my first job this week, and so I got a bit busy.

Ah, we have a violation of the often misunderstood ‘Spirit of Cricket’. If you haven’t seen it yet, just go to the link.

In a nutshell, Grant Elliott was called for a quick single by Kyle Mills, and Ryan Sidebottom, who was the bowler, ran across the pitch to get the ball to effect a run out, but in the process, collided against Elliott and both fell flat to the ground. Pietersen swoops in and throws the ball to Bell, who whips the bails off at the non – striker’s end.

But what followed was, indeed sensible stuff from the umpires, as Mark Benson asked Collingwood if he wanted to revoke the appeal. Collingwood denied the opportunity, and he was given out, to the utter disgust of Elliott and the NZ dressing room. Hats off to Mark Benson for not giving the decision immediately.

However, justice was served, and an overthrow gave NZ the game. The NZ boys were really pumped up, and many of them refused to give any handshakes.

Later, during the post-match conference, Collingwood apologised for the decision, saying it was done ‘in the heat of the moment’.

However, I’m not really convinced by this. Though a lot of pundits have applauded his humility, I would say that he may have known that it was against the ‘Spirit’ of the game, but decided that winning was of utmost importance. He may have decided that he would apologise regardless of the outcome.

This also doesn’t show well on the skipper, and also serves to grill down the view that today’s cricketers are ready to win at all costs, even if it means knocking down the stumps when the batsman had a genuine collision with a fielder.

However, former England skipper Nasser Hussain had something interesting to say about this. He says that the umpire should’ve gone over to Colly and told him ‘Look we have had a look at this upstairs; it has just been a genuine collision we are going to call a dead ball and get on with the game.’ It would’ve taken the heat out of the situation.

However, Collingwood has been banned for four matches for going behind the ‘over-rate’ twice in the past 12 months, which means he’d miss the last ODI against NZ, the ODI against Scotland, the T20 and the first ODI against South Africa.