Monday, 19 February 2007

An even better win

It is hard to believe how quickly a losing team can become a winning team and vice versa. Only a week or so ago the New Zealanders were being lambasted for their performance in Australia and now they have the world champions under their thumb. The Australian papers are a source of great entertainment lately, and today is no different. Both the Age and the Australian state that Sunday's loss was even worse than Friday's. Alex Brown in the Age sums up why this is best:

In many ways, yesterday's defeat, which sealed Australia's first four-game losing streak in almost a decade, was more concerning than the 10-wicket loss in Wellington on Friday. On that occasion, Australia's inexperienced batsmen were caught out on a seaming wicket by one of the world's premier pacemen, Shane Bond. But in Auckland there was no such excuse, as Australia's high-profile bowling attack was plastered across the Eden Park turf by the home side's batsmen.

In the New Zealand papers we find a much more upbeat tune. In the Herald Richard Boock prostrates himself at Ross Taylor's feet while David Leggat muses thoughtfully on the contrasting innings of Hussey and Taylor. In the Dominion-Post Jonathan Millmow just sits back and marvels at what this might mean for our once almost dead World Cup hopes.

Despite the brilliance of the run chase, I find it hard to look at a match involving New Zealand without at least one small mote irritating my eye. This time it was the performance of the bowlers. Tuffey looked wobbly and the part-timers were just dreadful. Styris in particular has bowled absolute rubbish since his return from injury. Personally I think a haircut could help.

I don't want to end on a low note however. So here are a couple of things that came as a bonus with the victory. The first was the Eden Park pitch. "This is one of the best, if not the best one-day conditions I've ever played in", said Michael Hussey. And the second thing was the crowd. Eden Park was absolutely humming. The crowd wasn't just the largest we have seen in Auckland for a long time, it was also the noisest and most excited I have seen in New Zealand since the early 1980s. By the end of the match the atmosphere in my lounge was just electric. Lord knows what it must have felt like at the ground.


Karel said...

What a game! I have a feeling that 300 odd will soon become the benchmark for ODI cricket and any team chasing such a target will always be in with a sniff. Taylor
was wonderful and goes from strength to strength. I wonder if someday he may be in line for the captaincy? Give him five years or so at the top and you never know. Im still unconvinced on Fulton but he was great yesterday and his place at the World Cup is deserved. Funnily enough, if Oram were fit again id still bring him back in for Peter, despite his heroics. I Hope Maccas keeps working on his bowling - i think he now needs to justify his place on a permenant basis as a bowling batsman but he was terrific yesterday. I loved Gillespies banter with Hayden. Shows fight, shows aggression. Im liking Gillespie more and more and thought he was O.K on a flat, lifeless pitch. And on that kind of surface, O.K is good enough.
Worried about Tuffey. I like the guy but he seems nervous and unsure everytime he runs in to bowl. A gamble at the cup but if Oram is fit again we may not need him. I think part timers and 'dibbly dobblers' will be the most effective at the WC, thus teams with batting allrounders will do best (Sri Lanka, West Indies).

Ps: i love seeing bowlers like Tait being smacked about the park. You just know that at domestic level he probably gets wickets in his sleep - players terrified of his pace - and yet on the international stage hes picked off with ease. A mate told me he was clocked at 165k. As i missed the first half of our innings i didnt see myself. When i saw him he was in the mid 150's. Can anyone back this up? If its true, then does this make him the fastest bowler in World Cricket?
(Akhtars 161.5 being the quickest to date)

Mike said...

I heard Tait saying before the game that he wanted to bowl at 165kmph in the match and couldn't see any reason why he shouldn't get up that fast. I didn't see him get above 155 though. Perhaps your mate just heard what Tait said.

Irrespective - I think concentrating on sheer pace is just a silly thing to do in an ODI.

Marshmallow said...

I know that at yesterdays game Tait didn't get any higher than 155, though I think I remember seeing one match in the CB series where he reached 160? I certianly don't think he's exceeded that, at leat at international level though.

NZ's Bowling... I tell you what, I got the shivers when I saw Lou Vincent warming up to have a bowl! Jesus Christ O_O

And Mike, from being at the ground, I can tell you that the atmosphere was out of this world. I have no voice today. Neither do the two friends I dragged along, one of whom has no interest in cricket whatsoever and brought a book with her. The book stayed in her bag the entire time, and she too has no voice today.

What a game. WHAT. A. GAME.

Suhas said...

Amazing game. For once the big run chase brought out the best in the top order, unlike the 331 chase in December 2005 where Styris' century was backed up mainly by the lower/middle order. If the top order can keep this rich vein of form up, it'll be enough to cover the bowling frailties. The part time options have been surprisingly poor of late...Styris' bowling seems to have fallen away while Macca might get the odd wicket but can't really do a containing job. Still think Harris should have been in the squad instead of an extra fast-medium bowler, especially when our premier allrounder gets himself injured all the time. But with the batting clicking like never before, NZ suddenly seem a lot more secure.