Jan 29 2012

A season of landmarks

We’ve started the season with a narrow win against our most formidable opponent, and now we’ve absolutely massacred our least formidable.

It’s been a stimulating season so far.

Look out South Africa.

Sleigh Bells:


Jan 27 2012

African contest – first leg

Test cricket is away!

Let’s see if I can lay out the whole Zimbabwean series:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Jan 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
test, Napier test, Napier test, Napier test, Napier
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
test, Napier ODI 1, Dunedin
Feb 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
ODI 2, Whangarei ODI 3, Napier T20I 1, Auckland
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
T20I 2, Hamilton

For the more visually inclined, here is a map:


Jan 24 2012

Squad vs squad

So, the NZ home international season has now started, with the NZ XI–Zim warm-up match completed.

You’d like to think that a warm-up match – particularly one with most of the home test squad playing – might tell you a bit about the players’ current form and how they might play against each other in the upcoming matches. Unfortunately, a match where 4/5 batsmen in an innings retire and the other team lose loads of their wickets to a player who doesn’t even qualify to be in the test team, is not going to have great predictive potential.

Instead, let’s compare the two squads.

New Zealand

Here’s the squad most of whom played in a team good enough to beat Australia:

Zimbabwe

And the team that came close to beating New Zealand:

So

Looking at those two lists, NZ clearly have the wood over Zimbabwe. That Zimbabwe squad is looking very shabby and full of holes, even compared to a NZ squad with more mediocrity than class.

Still, this is the 8th ranked team playing against the de facto 9th ranked team. It isn’t an even contest, but it would hardly be an upset if Zimbabwe made it competitive.


Aug 24 2011

Come and see me if you win

All Out Cricket, the organ of the English Professional Cricketers’ Association, is running a competition with a first prize of a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand.

Go ahead and enter. It is a very nice to place to visit.


Mar 27 2011

Gracious losers

Another South African fan has had a bit of a vent, on Twitter this time:

@Njarfie Shannon Smit
@scottbstyris I think you and your entire has a shit attitude.I hope you lose by 200 odd runs or by 10 wickets in the semi’s #arrogantcunts


Mar 26 2011

The c-word

Wow! W-h-h-how! New Zealand’s most important cricket world cup victory to date?

I couldn’t manage to stay up for the game myself (fell asleep on the couch at about 11.30), but I knew something big had happened when I found this comment waiting in my moderation queue:

Hi there you stupid fucking Sheep Shaggers.

SA vs NZ
I can tell you something thats messy.
Players coming up to a new batsman mouthing off at him , getting in his face after his fellow team mate has been run out.

Daniel Vettori you dont let your men do that and most of all dont do it yourself.
Cricket is supposed to be a gentlemans game not a game played by a country that would rather shag a sheep.

THOSE EARTHQUAKES HAVE REALLY HAD AN EFFECT ON YOU???

You know you’re winning when someone calls you a sheep shagger.

Here’s the incident that ForeverProteas is talking about:

“You’ve just run out the World Cup.” Great to see the Black Caps showing some mongrel.

Chirpy music to go with my mood:


Mar 25 2011

Quarterfinal standings

So the 42-game, month-long qualifying round is finally over and we’re getting into the depths of the knock-out stage. As intended, due to the careful managing of the format, the top eight teams have made it through to the quarter-finals and the minnows have been eliminated. One wonders why the minnows were invited at all considering the odds were so stacked against them having any impact.

They did form part of that crucial qualifying round however, where the teams destined to qualify fought it out for prime positions on the points table. The month-long qualifying round was worth it for that wasn’t it?

Well, not really.

Heading into the quarter finals we have the following standings:

Group A
Pakistan
Sri Lanka
Australia
New Zealand
Group B
South Africa
India
England
West Indies

Now, I’m not sure what the seeding for the tournament was, but if you check out the current official rankings of the teams, you would predict the following standings:

Group A
Australia
Sri Lanka
Pakistan
New Zealand
Group B
South Africa
India
England
West Indies

I’ve highlighted the difference, which is essentially that Pakistan and Australia have swapped places, which can be put down to a single match in the qualifiers.

For this we played out 42 qualifying matches. We could have started at the quarters using seedings taken from the official rankings and been spared a whole month of nothing much.

This world cup has in some sections been labelled the best ever. Those sections are the organisers – go figure – and the English. In fact it is true that the English have had a great cup. Every game they have played has been a cracker, but most importantly, they actually had to fight to qualify, bucking the ultra-friendly format. That’s what the qualifiers needed for all teams – a bit of danger, something to really play for.


Mar 22 2011

Catching comments

Going down badly against Sri Lanka after expectations had been raised is so thoroughly typical of the Black Caps that I am almost not bothered by that last pool match. Almost. What actually makes the game bearable is having the poor sportsmanship and umpiring around N McCullum catch to bitch about. Nothing makes a bitter loss more palatable than a good spoonful of indignation.

Here’s the video of the catch:

View it and review it all you want. I have already. It is clear that he scooped up the ball a fraction from the ground. If you see anything else, you’re just really wanted to disbelieve it. Also – it was a fuckin’ awesome catch!

The fact that it was not given out is a tragedy for cricket. It was a true example of athleticism that deserves to be rewarded. But it is the awesomeness of it, the fact that he was able to grab it so close from the ground, that allowed the 3rd umpire, Amiesh Saheba, to question it. Such is the way with the modern world; excellence is swamped under persnicketiness.

What really bothers me about all this is that despite the fact that everyone knows it was out (I would like to believe that Saheba realises that on the balance of probabilities it was out, even if he gave Jayawardene the benefit of the doubt), Jayawardene no less than anyone else, no one really seems to be prepared to admit that. A fair catch wasn’t given – we can accept that, it happens all the time in cricket. A batsman refuses to walk and instead gambles the umpire will make a mistake. Fair enough really; it’s what I’d do in the circumstances. But let’s please tell it like it is.

I don’t think much of Ricky Ponting, but I can fully respect his statement after the Aus match against Pakistan: “There were no doubts about the nick, I knew I hit it, but as always I wait for the umpire to give me out. That’s the way I’ve always played the game.”


Mar 9 2011

Messy

Had a go watching last night’s match against Pakistan on live internet stream. It was not a great experience – the video seemed to quite consistently cut out when the ball was mid-pitch. All the ads came through okay though. And one of the attractions of watching coverage from overseas is getting to see inside  foreign cultures through watching their advertisements. I think I was watching some British coverage last night and one ad stood out. It was an ad for Cadbury Creme Eggs and it culminating in an egg rupturing and spraying its gooey filling all over the place in some bukkake frenzy. It’s almost enough to put you off Easter.

I gave up following the game after an hour or so, so it wasn’t until the morning that I discovered the mess that Ross Taylor had made of Pakistan. Taylor hadn’t scored a century for over two years and had become swollen and distended with all the runs backing up inside him. Last night, the pressure had built up too much and he burst and gooed all over Pakistan.

Taken by Trees:


Mar 4 2011

What have I missed?

Shit! New Zealand are playing Zimbabwe in the World Cup in 15 minutess! I’d forgotten about the World Cup. I don’t think I’ve paid any attention for a whole week. How many of New Zealand’s games have I missed?