Having playing Australia four times in 20-20s and lost each time, I think it is fair to say that New Zealand has not yet discovered the formula for beating Australia. Clearly setting a target of 119 is not going to do it.
Looking at Australia’s record (which is good, 15 wins from 28 matches, but not incredible), they seem to be as vulnerable as the next team to a moderately decent total or in being restricted to a moderately decent score.
Fielding first, as they did last night, Australia has only once chased down a score of over 160 – 161 to be precise. Checking New Zealand’s record, we have never lost posting a total of 164 or above. So I am going to suggest that 160 is a good target, which should stretch Australia.
Setting a total, Australia routinely defends totals of 180 or above, which is no surprise, as that is a good score. New Zealand has never chased down a score in excess of 180, so conceding that much would be a certain defeat for NZ. Now, while Aus have defended some pretty middling total, such as 127, they have failed to defend some pretty hefty scores in the 160s. However, 166 is the most NZ have chased down, and we’ve faltered on several scores of 150-odd. So restricting to Australia to 155 or less should give us a decent chance.
So in Sunday’s match, New Zealand should be trying to set a target of 160 or restrict Australia to a total of 155.
20-20 is such a fickle game. The whole match can turn on just a few minor factors.
Take last night’s match for example. A practically debutante opener, an early loss of a key wicket, a bad umpiring decision, difficulty forming partnerships, a tail that failed to wag, stark difference in bowling pace between the teams, a flying start to the chase, a cool-headed Australian middle order. If all of these factors were eliminated, the game would have been much closer.
There’s been a lot of talk about Australia having completed an “unbeaten summer”, sweeping Pakistan and the West Indies in tests, ODIs and 20-20s.
Well leaving aside any precise considerations of solstices and weather patterns, as far as I am concerned summer is not over until the last match in the 09/10 season – 31 March. So if Australia want to celebrate an unbeaten summer, they will have to win every game up until then. That is going to be 2 tests, 2 20-20s and 5 ODIs, all against New Zealand.
Well good luck, ’cause I reckon we’re going to win at least one of them.
New Zealand Cricket has a very nice website, with loads of stats, great photos, live scoreboards, heaps of info and of course current news about the Black Caps.
One thing that has always amused me is how they push out press releases as news items with headlines and everything. These get to me through my RSS feed with the very nonspecific byline “from News”, so at first glance they look like they’re a newspaper article or a TV news segment.
“Full and exciting calendar for cricket lovers” was a recent “news” headline from NZC headquarters. And it certainly was news to me, coming as it did after I had waited out a month and a half of no international cricket and was struggling to raise any interest in the Bangladesh series.
I was further surprised to read in the article that:
The vagaries of international cricket scheduling will be highlighted over the coming two weeks as New Zealand, Australia, Bangladesh, Australia and the West Indies compete in all three formats of the game in six different locations at the business end of the cricket season.
In order to manufacture interest in what is left of the season, we’re being enticed with being able to watch a team, the West Indies, who we aren’t even playing against. This is New Zealand cricket news right? And what is the trick of listing one of our opponents, Australia, twice?
Beaten in every match and still being talked up. Forgive me for being ungracious in victory, but I find it hard to give Bangladesh much credit for their performance in the test match. 122 runs is a heavy loss, and that against the 6th ranked team. They also lost 20 wickets to New Zealand’s 12. A highest partnership of 145 to NZ’s 339.
I think it is pretty clear to anyone watching what went wrong for Bangladesh. The truth is, the batsmen didn’t look that bad. They just played the wrong game. They were too aggressive.
A quick calculation finds that Bangladesh scored 468 of their 690 runs in boundaries. About 2/3 of their runs. Whereas New Zealand scored 384 of their 811 in boundaries, less that half. If their 468 runs in boundaries had been the same proportion of their total as NZ’s 384 was, then their total would have been 988 and they might have won, well drawn at least.
They’ve got to calm down a bit. Learn to walk before they run and all that.
There’s only one thing to reasonably expect in a series against Bangladesh, a whitewash. Anything else is an upset – and that would be embarrassing. So it makes a lot of sense to talk up Bangladesh’s prospects before the first game of the tour, on the off-chance they do manage to fluke a win.
However, after last Friday’s 146-run caning, following up on the 20-20 mauling, I find it hard to see how you can continue to suggest that Bangladesh are asking questions. If they’re posing any questions, they are “Who was talking them up before the series and what were they thinking?” and “When does Australia arrive?”