My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

And that is how you do it!

on January 2, 2014

I know I’ve only just posted a blog this week, but I couldn’t go one more day into 2014 without commending the groundstaff at the Queenstown Event Centre for their fine work in enabling a T21 to be played at their ground on New Year’s Day!

I think everyone was resigned to the umpires calling the whole thing off when the drizzly rain eventually stopped falling at about 2.00 in the afternoon, sighing as yet another day in our “summer of cricket” looked to be ruined by the weather.

Anyone else sick of the sight of umbrellas and covers this year already?!

Anyone else sick of the sight of umbrellas and covers this year already?!

But the sight of the groundstaff at the Centre enthusiastically mopping up the dampness in the outfield, and preparing the haul the covers off the pitch area, even before the umpires had made their final decision, was enough to inspire and encourage even the teams to do their best for the crowd that had patiently and diligently waited for many hours for some sort of game to be played!

At least, I think they inspired the New Zealand Black Caps to do their best; I’m not really sure the West Indians wanted to play a shortened game … especially given they were already 1-0 up in the Series, and given that they had just lost one of their best players, Darren Sammy, to a hamstring injury during warm-up activities.  Winning the coin toss would be about as positive as things would get for the visiting team yesterday afternoon …

And they sent the New Zealand team in to bat.

As someone tweeted shortly afterwards, “Getting Martin Guptill out was the West Indies’ first mistake;” and this is kind of sad, but true.  No offence to Guptill of course, as he is one great limited-overs batsman for New Zealand, but Jason Holder bowled a terrific over at him and fully deserved to his wicket after only 7 deliveries faced!

This brought captain Brendon McCullum to the crease at number three for New Zealand and, in my opinion, this was also the best thing to happen for Jesse Ryder, who had opened the batting at the other end with Guptill.  Up until then, Ryder hadn’t really been able to time any of his shots played but, once McCullum strode to the crease and Ryder could see how easy it was to trust the bounce of the wicket and play some shots, well, the rest, as they say, is history!

After McCullum kickstarted the innings with 33 runs from 11 deliveries (including 3 six hits), Ryder had joined in the party and commenced his own smashing innings … as he was joined by the relatively new-boy, Corey Anderson.

That's how you cover drive!

That’s how you cover drive!

Ryder brought up his 50 runs off just 23 deliveries, smashing four sixes along the way, but Anderson was just getting started … as he rapidly stroked his way to 50 (off just 20 deliveries) and passed Ryder (who as we all know, is no slug with the bat himself!), as the fourth wicket partnership put on 150 runs off 58 deliveries!

Personally, I thought it would be highly unfair if at least one of these batsmen didn’t make a three-figure score … so when Anderson hit yet another six when his score was 95, making his 101 off 36 deliveries the fastest One-Day century in the world, I was even standing and applauding in my living room (even if I was watching the game by myself!)

100 from 36 balls - that's how it's done!

131* from 47 balls –  6 fours and 14 sixes; that’s how you do it!

Ryder himself brought up his own century a couple of deliveries later, off just 46 balls, as the team score hit 283 off just 21 overs!  I mean, I know it’s a batsmen’s game these days, but really, that’s just ridiculous!  🙂

Especially when the West Indians started batting and had to immediately score 14 runs an over, just to have a small chance of passing that score!  Which was never really going to happen, as first Kyle Mills (1 wicket for 11 runs) and then Mitchell McClenaghan (2 wickets for 7 runs) knocked the top of the West Indian batting order and any hope the visiting team had of even attempting such a mammoth run chase!

The New Zealand Black Caps had a few anxious moments as another sun-shower of rain passed across the ground as they rushed to bowl the required 20 overs to reach “official match” status, and you know when the likes of Ryder, Jimmy Neesham and Guptill get asked to bowl, with the bowling line-up this team has, you know the team is serious about wanting to take the win!

In a way it was disappointing that the likes of Adam Milne, who was finally getting to play his first game of the series, was only able to bowl two overs before the time-frame denied us any more chance of seeing his tremendous pace bowling, but hopefully if he stays within the team set-up, he will get another chance soon.  Imagine Milne and McClenaghan bowling in tandem at the Indians later this year?!!  😉

Obviously, New Zealand won the match (by a huge 159 runs) and the Series is now tied 1-1 as the teams head to Nelson and hope for a fine day, but if not, at least a fine groundstaff crew, who are willing and eager to see another fantastic game of limited-overs cricket!  🙂

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2 responses to “And that is how you do it!

  1. Marion says:

    Spot on Jess, the difference in Groundstaff attitudes could not have been more at variance, Napier was playable and the game should have gone ahead. Great blog entry, you have summed the whole day up brilliantly, that was the game of a lifetime but it would be great to see another like it, you have a great cricket mind, Ryder’s whole attitude changed when McCullum came out. For me a Guptill/Ryder partnership is not a goer, Jesse needs a Brendan/Ross to settle him and give him a platform as happened yesterday and then he gave one to Corey and delightfully bossed it!

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