Sep 30 2009

Black Caps save the world

It is as if the world had righted itself on its axis. The Black Caps have made the semis of an ICC tournament. Global warming has been turned back. Kraft have revealed the iSnack was a hoax. (Though in a troubling sign of the coming apocalypse, Grant Elliot continues to prove to be a match winner.)

New Zealand destroy England, knock Sri Lanka out of the tournament and shame South Africa, all while imploding themselves.

Heard on Radio Sport (Mark Richardson?) this morning: “You can’t bag this New Zealand team because you’ll end up with egg on your face.”


Mar 16 2009

Rankings, now updated

In the middle of the ODI series, where Indian were flaying the Black Caps, Stuff were exclaiming that Vettori was holding onto his no. 1 ranking. Not likely. By the time that article saw print Vettori had already dropped to 2nd, as the recently updated rankings now show. Vettori has now in fact dropped to 5th, after going wicketless in Auckland.

Kyle Mills managed to hold onto this spot at 3, thanks to his 1/27 in Auckland. Jacob Oram dwindled a bit, dropping from 14 before the series to 19 afterwards. Patel and Southee also slipped, while O’Brien, Ryder, Elliott and Butler don’t even make it into the top 100 (they are, respectively, 118, 137, 131 and 127).

Somehow I expected things to be worse for our bowlers.

Amongst the batsmen, Ryder reached a career high of 47, which is quite impressive considering he was ranked 77 before the series. Guptill was similarly successful; starting the tour at 72 and reaching 44 by the end.

Our highest ranked batsmen remains Taylor, who has slipped out of the top 20 over the series to sit at 23. McCullum is also in the 20s, at 27, where he started the series.  Styris drops into the 30s, despite not getting a bat in his one game, though that will include some degradation from missing the Chappell–Hadlee. Oram’s 8 runs in 3 innings pushes him into the 40s.

Elliott dipped slightly from 57 to 60, though that could have been as bad as 65 if it wasn’t for his furious cameo in Hamilton. Neil Broom just squeezes into the top 200. Kyle Mills didn’t improve his batting ranking much, though he finishes at 19 as an all-rounder. The biggest mover of all was Peter McGlashan,whose late innings heroics in Hamilton boosted his ranking from 329 to 235.

Feb 9 2009

Cracker of the match

What the eff? Who decides these man of the match awards?

In Friday’s match, the award went to Michael Clarke for his 98, despite the fact that Elliot’s 61 clearly decided the result of the match. Clarke even takes the blame for the loss on Friday. And he was right to some extent – excuse me for being uncharitable, but his inability to take the match away from New Zealand, despite his long, long partnership with Michael Hussey, did as much to lose the match as it did to save the innings.

So the precedent was set. The biggest innings wins the award, not the best or the most influential.

It was clear right through Sunday’s match that Australia were going to take the match. But I took great satisfaction in Elliott’s 115, convinced that it would deny Haddin (109) the award. But someone changed the rules on Saturday, and Elliott went unrewarded again.

Well, applying my own arbitrary criteria, I’m awarding Elliott a double Waitangi weekend Crucket cracker of the match award.

Also, a shout out too to Vettori. Despite the ABC commentators repeated insistance that Bracken is the no. 1 ODI bowler, we’re going by the website, which puts you comfortably at no. 1.

Proper respec’ to the whole team in fact. When the commentators stated that NZ had “pushed into no. 4 in the rankings” they were clearly unaware that the two months we spent at no. 5 were a blip and that we’ve had a pretty comfortable home in the top 4 since 2004.