Friday, 13 April 2007

Wheels tumbling off the wagon?

The nature of New Zealand's defeat against Sri Lanka means we have to ask if the wheels are falling off the New Zealand wagon. The batting was poor, the fielding weak and the bowling atrocious. You can't get a more depressing mode of defeat than that. If this was simply a one-off abberation then I suppose it was a good time to get it out of the way. But I worry that it might be more than that. Against weaker opposition the flaws in our top-order and our back-up bowlers have been hidden, but against Sri Lanka they were ruthlessly exposed. Australia and South Africa are unlikely to allow us too much wiggle room in these areas either.

Stephen Fleming certainly has a few things to worry about before Saturday's game against South Africa. One thing which he will be trying to shove to the back of his mind is his recent form against Chaminda Vaas. In his last three matches against Sri Lanka Vaas has pinned Fleming lbw for 0.

If there was one positive to come from the match it was the continued good bowling form of Dan Vettori. Cricinfo's latest statistical analysis comes in two parts. The first looks at the terrible ODI batting pedigree of Michael Vaughan (interestingly it concludes that Craig McMillan is the only established top order batsman with a worse record), but the second looks at Dan's stunning form in ODIs since 2003. He has taken 117 wickets at 26.03 in that time and conceded less than 4 runs per over. Only Murali compares.

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