My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Super stuff that!

on September 28, 2012

… said in my best Richie Benaud voice!  😉

The Twenty 20 World Cup is underway, currently being held in Sri Lanka, and the New Zealand Black Caps came up against the home side in their first match-up of the “Super Eight” stage of the Cup last night (NZ time).  And whoever said cricket is boring definitely needs to take a look at the replay of that match!

If there’s anything 20/20 cricket has brought to the whole sport, it’s fresh and fun action, bringing new (and old) fans back to the grounds and TV screens, and making people enthusiastic about the game all over again!

Of course, you’ll never be able to convince me not to laze on the embankment on a warm summer’s day at the Basin Reserve and soak up five days of enthralling test cricket action … but there’s something to be said from enjoying a game of action-packed, nerve-wracking cricket in just over 4 hours!

Photo courtesy of http://www.cricinfo.com

It starts with the New Zealand captain winning the toss of the coin and deciding to have a batting innings first, and continues with a solid first wicket partnership between Rob Nicol (who, I have to say, may have just silenced a few critics with his determined 58 runs which include 3 boundary fours, and 4 “wallops” as David Lloyd the commentator would say to describe a 6-hit!) and Martin Guptill, who’s 38 runs off 34 balls was the exact right platform for strokemakers such as Brendon “Birthday Boy” McCullum and Ross Taylor to come in and score quick-fire 25 and 23 runs respectively.

It has to be added here that the Sri Lankan bowlers did a very good job of restricting what could have been an extremely competitive score in excess of 180 runs for New Zealand, to keep them to 174 for the loss of 7 wickets; in part, much of this credit could go to their debutante 18 year old bowler, Akila Dananjaya (or to be totally accurate, Mahamarakkala Kurukulasooriya Patabendige Akila Dananjaya Perera!), who bowled his allocated 4 overs for 2 wickets taken and 32 runs given away – one of these wickets after a blow to the face from a firmly-struck Rob Nicol drive which saw him needing to take a few moments to recover himself … and get patched up!

Brendon McCullum makes sure Akila Dananjaya is okay after being hit in the face!

Photo courtesy of http://www.cricinfo.com

So New Zealand needed to defend 174 runs … and the experimentation of starting their bowling innings with the off-spin bowling of Nathan McCullum didn’t really go according to plan … as the Sri Lankan opening batsmen made hay while the sun shone (or by this time, the floodlights) and scored heartily- Mahela Jayawardene scoring 44 runs, and Tillakaratne Dilshan being the hero of the batting card with a top-score of 76 runs!

Enter Tim Southee for New Zealand and, to some extent James Franklin, who lead the fight back to restrict the Sri Lankans to exactly the same score as their own batsmen had scored!

Which, in this form of the game, is not where the game ends!

Because we need to have a winner of these games – for some reason, a draw doesn’t satisfy anyone anymore – we have what has become known as a “super over,” in which one bowler from each side bowls 6 deliveries to the opposition, who have to score as many runs as possible (using only 3 available batsmen) and at the end of those 6 deliveries, the opposition have to try and get more runs than they did!

By this stage, the West Indian and English cricket teams had arrived at the same ground, ready to begin their warm-ups and preparations for the second match of the day, and then it also didn’t help the game to be wound up any faster by the fact that the New Zealand batsmen had packed away their bats and pads, rightly believing that they wouldn’t need them in the dug-out again that night.  It all made for a rather confused, and lengthy delay, while rules were confirmed, and batsmen and bowlers were made ready, to try and win the match for each side.

Not much needs to be said about the super over, apart from the fact that both selected bowlers (Tim Southee for New Zealand and Lasith Malinga for Sri Lanka) between them bowled so well they didn’t concede any boundary runs by the opposition batsmen.  Two fantastic examples of “death” bowling right there, I have to say!

Sri Lanka ended up scoring 13 runs in their 6 deliveries, while the New Zealand batsmen could only manage 7, so the victory goes to the home side … although I hope New Zealand’s next opponents (in England and the West Indies) took note not to take the boys in black lightly in this stage of the tournament!

Definitely worth staying awake till 2.00 in the morning, NZ time, and makes me look forward to the next match on Saturday night!  As we say in the fan club … up the Black Caps!!!

… and pass me another coffee 😉

Photo courtesy of http://www.cricinfo.com

New Zealand v Sri Lanka score card:  http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-world-twenty20-2012/engine/current/match/533284.html

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