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|
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.
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!
The Kiwis beat the Lankans by 1 Nathan McCullum!
Which lesson do the Saffas and the Aussies gladly take from that? Guts beat spin.