My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

NZ v India: ODI series – my recap

on February 1, 2014

4-0!

Hands up how many people picked that scoreline when the tour by India was announced all those months ago?  And I’m not talking about 4-0 in favour of the visitors, either 😉

If I’m honest, I actually believed our New Zealand Black Caps could take out the One-Day series against this Indian side, particularly when they are still rebuilding after the retirements of the not insignificant Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar!  I just figured the scoreline would be more like 3-2 in New Zealand’s favour 🙂

And that’s not just home team parochialism speaking either; ever since the tours to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh late last year, our Black Caps have been steadily building experience, skills and momentum as they moved through our home summer.

I’m usually terrible when it comes to things changing and people having to move on, but it has been very hard to argue with the coaching and selection staff at New Zealand Cricket latterly, when you see the fruits of bringing in such players as Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Hamish Bennett, Luke Ronchi, Matt Henry, and the recall of the likes of Jesse Ryder.

He may not have set the scoreboards alight as we know he is able to, in this latest series, but there’s no doubt Jesse Ryder has the ability to kick-start the innings at the start of the match (along with the sublime Martin Guptill) and allow the rest of the team to work towards the plan.

All that aside, and being exceedingly proud and satisfied (thus far) of the work and effort each player of this Black Caps squad has put in to achieve this magnificent result, my highlights for the series include:

Mitchell McClenaghan - 10 overs, 4 wickets for 68 runs

Game 1: Mitchell McClenaghan – 10 overs, 4 wickets for 68 runs

It’s actually a tough call for Game 1 between Corey Anderson’s belligerent 68 runs (including losing two balls over the stadium roof!) and the fact that Mitchell McClenaghan took the ball when his captain needed to turn the match in their favour, and ended up taking four key Indian wickets and set the series up with a win for the home side!

Kane Williamson - 77 runs

Game 2: Kane Williamson – 77 runs

I make no secret of the fact that I just love watching Kane Williamson bat!  And I don’t want to give him a big head and all, but the guy really CAN bat!!

Game 3: Martin Guptill 111 runs

Game 3: Martin Guptill – 111 runs

I guess Ravindra Jadeja’s 66 runs in this drawn match was a “Man of the Match” winning performance, in that he turned the result for his side from a loss to a face-saving tie; I can’t help feeling disappointed that such a superb century from Martin Guptill, after seeing how hard he has worked to get back into the team after injury and also seeing how hard he works building each batting innings, goes unrecognised though.

So for me, Martin Guptill was Man of the Match for Game 3 and I can’t wait till he works his way back into the test side for New Zealand cause he sure is good to watch when the runs are flowing from his bat!

Brendon McCullum - 49* and Ross Taylor - 112*

Game 4: Brendon McCullum – 49* and Ross Taylor – 112*

Taking nothing away from a superb unbeaten century by Ross Taylor in Game 4 of the series in Hamilton, my favourite performance of the match was from captain, Brendon McCullum.

I’m sure he knows himself that he’s not been hitting the ball well throughout the series, and was probably putting even more pressure on himself than the fans around the country were doing, but to see him being able to strike the ball cleanly, after another excellent platform of runs was laid by the top-order for New Zealand, and to be able to just (hopefully!) enjoy a batting innings for a change, was my highlight from this game!

It must be something about batting with Ross Taylor, too, cause he always seems to be able to get things “right” and working well when this man is at the other end of the pitch 🙂

Game 5: Kyle Mills 10 overs, 2 wickets for 35 runs

Game 5: Kyle Mills 10 overs, 2 wickets for 35 runs

It may seem strange that the highlight of the last match of the series for me was this bowling effort … when you have the likes of Kane Williamson scoring his fifth consecutive half century, and Ross Taylor scoring yet another century … but being somehow able to prevent this flaunted Indian batting line-up from scoring runs freely and at will, I reckon is a definite skill and performance to be acknowledged!

So now we say goodbye (for now!) to Hamish Bennett, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Matt Henry, Kyle Mills, Nathan McCullum, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi … and welcome back, to hopefully close out the home season in style, to Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner and BJ Watling and hope for more scenes like this one … and perhaps another ride for the bowlers’ to the summit of Mount Victoria!  😉

NZ v India ANZ Series WINNERS!!!

NZ v India ANZ Series WINNERS!!!

Fantastic effort so far, Black Caps – both players and coaching staff, alike – but the job’s only half done; and I hope in a couple of weeks’ time, we can have similarly happy memories to recount as well!

*All photos courtesy of http://www.cricinfo.com – thank you for a pictorial memory of this series, for me!

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