1 May 2010

Of guts and glory: Kiwis bag first victory

Each thing has its price. The Kiwis never throw a party for free. They want your nerves, they wind them round the spit and roast them at 200°C. I currently feel like a teacher after 20 years of special school. Completely burnt-out. Reasons:

Large ground, low-scoring match. Most of the time you were not watching batsmen playing cricket, but cleaners sweeping, wiping and collecting lolly wrappers off the floor. The Indian audience will probably have been disappointed at the lack of MILF Maximums and... well that sort of stuff.

But now let's look at the Kiwi Moments Of Success:

Bond, fastest of the bowlers, was expensive, but played a good last over incl. 2 wickets.
Tum... he must have a university degree in economy or so :D Best of the bowlers despite not being a spinner, plus 1 wicket.
McNullum was the man in the field, took a wicket, too.
Highlight: an acrobatic LRPL catch.
Styris killed second ball.
Oram got a wicket, too. Oram is funny when he's good. And he's pretty funny at the moment, took his personal momentum with him from the warm-ups.
Jesse Ryder must be the quickest walrus on this side and the other side of the equator.
Guptill sharp in the field as well. But I don't remember much due to brain fry.

SL batted very patiently, hardly lost any wickets and kept their calm. Jayawardene delivered an outstanding innings of 81, but couldn't help falling on his knees before Timmy. They all do, eventually.

Target for NZ: 136

McBullum: duck. I missed that due to piss-aroundery with the stream.
Ryder and Guptill built up a really cool partnership. Ryder is pretty much the man; if his body agrees he will be one of the most impressive batters in the tournament and heck, he is so key for NZ it does hardly get any keyer. Guptill partnered him well. Due to the low score good running would have done most of the trick, but JR couldn't help trying a slog and had to ryde home on an essential 42 runs.

The revolving door began to pick up speed, Guptill followed him quickly but each run was vital and so were his 19. The pressing spin began to work, there was no actual ease in sight. Styris and LRPL entered the field almost simultaneously. The Lankan bowlers were doing my head in. I also remembered Malinga right away when he strode in. He annoys the bejesus out of the batter really. The batters must have felt like driving with two handbrakes on, but still they kept up with the SL run rate.

Styris added some more important runs to the score before he got bowled by Mendis. Quite a nice wicket but my joy was measured. LRPL was not born for such pressure. He had left the hall in typical LRPL manner.
Vettori survived for a pretty long time, it started to hail run out chances when the asking rate crept up to 10 and boundaries were nearly impossible to come by.

Anyway Oram came in for Styris. I was a complete wreck at that time, pulling my face long and unable to move. Asking rate was about 11, how do you want to do that with dot balls and singles!

Oram, smart as he is, obviously thought exactly the same, grabbed Mendis by the collar and kicked him for 12.
That. Was. Mad.
The second six, fired one-handed and looking like a good catch at the boundary, was a tad too long for Welegedara, who spectacularly crashed over the rope. These 12 runs took a lot of pressure off the Kiwis and I think that was the moment in which they recollected their guts and decided to go for the glory. Not without giving their watchers another few spins on the spit of course.

Nathan McCullum whacks Malinga for 6      (c) AFP
20 needed from the last two overs. Malinga already looming, but he had to watch the Weli show first. Revenge was written on the forehead of the unlucky fielder, DANG, Oram goes. Hopkins comes in as the length of my face touches the 50 km mark. Panic. The batters go for a second run but Dilshan's reflexes are faster. Hopkins is run out but completes a vital run.

And now, multi-coloured cow! 9 runs needed from the final over. 9 runs to sqeeze out of Malinga.
McNullum decides that he has had enough of this circus and goes for the shnitzki shnatzki method, what other choice does he have! Fred knows how he did it but he finds the gap with surgical precision and smashes Malinga for 4.
4 needed off 3 balls! Doable, if Malinga lets you! No dot balls, no wickets. Just run run run. Thinks Vettori. And this time his luck leaves him. The suicidal second panic run has cost another life. Southee comes in. But McNullum is on strike! 3 off 2 needed.

Update on my mental and emotional state: Brain fried to crisp, heart rate switches between 200 and 20 every few seconds.
Malinga bowls.
McNullum gets his bat on it.
It goes high, high, the camera follows... [these are the seconds when  you want to punch any random person or object nearby] ...and it lands outside the rope!

BLOODY HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Kiwis beat the Lankans by 1 Nathan McCullum!

Which lesson do the Saffas and the Aussies gladly take from that? Guts beat spin.

Good night.



greyblazer said...

Leaving Mahela Lankan batsmen didn't play well and were about 15 run short on that pitch.

Kiwis almost lost the match but for once the lower order didn't crumble under pressure!

Sidthegnomenator said...

Well, it's thrown my first prediction out the window so I'm not happy with the Kiwis (again). I do think, though, that Jacob Oram should have been MOTM. It was his batting, short stint though it was, that changed NZ's fortunes. I protest.

Lou said...

I think Dilshan's peculiar stint cost them the match. He was almost diametrically opposed to Oram's stint.

Lou said...

McCullum's six was a bloody good shot off a very full ball. Can't blame Malinga for that as Nathan had moved back in his crease and hammered that ball.

Wes said...

Sid, good we agree on the funny man!
Lou: Nooo! Dilshan batted well and also did not drop any catches. It was all because the Kiwis rule the galaxy. *yesyes*
GB yeah the lower order performance was excellent. Well as said in many previews they are full of allrounders, which helps them until late. I still haven't got used to that Hopkins person.

Beggy G said...


Love it.

Suhas said...

Southee really seems to be in the zone now, doesn't he? His was a vital effort considering Bond was off-colour. And that's a pretty good image of McNullum hitting the six, glad it worked out for him, he's a good utility cricketer.

Oram seemed to be in better form than Taylor or Styris and should probably move up the order a bit. Hopkins will keep his place because Baz has relinquished keeping duties for the moment; he's just OK as a keeper but a pretty batsman, did well against the Aussies.

As for the Lankans, they really haven't found a replacement for Chaminda Vaas so far, the veteran should have been in the squad.

GreenJJ said...

I bloody love these reviews, sod Cricinfo.

Great match to start the tournament, one that is for once being played on proper sized grounds. Like both NZ and SL, because like SA its very fast to write their name. Oh and WI too. They've also got some quality players, Nathan McCullum shouldn't be as useful as he is, good lad.

Rishabh said...

Was I slightly wrong about Oram and Styris? These pitches are made for dibblers!

Wes said...

Beggy G, welcome!

Suhas, I know about the Hopkins matter, it makes sense but I don't want it :/

Hey GreenJJ, nice to see you popping in^^, thanks mate!

Rishabh, I was about to mention certain Indian unbelievers, but eventually decided against it. O+S are Kiwis, you never know for how long things will go well :P