Awesome evening at the Basin on Friday. Huge crowd – frickin’ huge. Bouncy castles for the kids. Decent weather. A few sixes hit onto the bank. Lou Vincent unveiling his Mongoose and leading Auckland to a competitive score. Then Franklin bringing the game back after early wickets.
The kids were melting down a bit by the end though, so we snuck out with a couple of overs remaining, confident in a Wellington win. About a run a ball required.
Little did we know what was transpiring while we were driving home. Franklin gone two balls after we left and no firepower left in the lineup. Those early wickets really cost us.
Another victory handed over to the opposition. Wellington just can’t catch no breaks this season.
Allaying all concerns that the previous 1, 2, 3 warm up victories over half of the tournament’s minnows were merely flattering to deceive, the Black Caps have rolled India. Hoody hoo!
Now we should first recognise that this is just a warm up match. It could well be that India just weren’t trying as hard as they might. Despite playing 12 players (to NZ’s 11 – Bloom and McGlashan, listed on the NZ scorecard, didn’t get onto the field), India chose to rest Virendar Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan.
Still, NZ’s score of 170 was a good one against a slightly weakened India, and defending that when India were on track to win right up to the end of the 16th over was a massive effort. It was over 17th over, bowled by Vettori which went for 2, and the 18th over, Oram going for 3, that won NZ the game. It was such a surprising turn around given how comfortably in control the Indians were, you could almost conclude that they lost on purpose, just for practice, so they know what not to do in a real game.
I was very impressed by Oram’s bowling. I had been composing a post about the oddity of Oram’s fine ODI record, but poorer records for the versions of the game on either side of the ODI code. I mean, if he’s better in ODIs than in tests, he should be better in 20-20s than in ODIs. But he’s made that post redundant by showing that he’s actually a good 20-20 bowler. Someone else I reckon would have been good in 20-20s is Chris Cairns, as an intelligent bowler and a big hitter. But James Franklin (27 off 10 across the last four overs) seems to be filling that role quite nicely.
You can see a few highlights here. (At least you can in New Zealand; I don’t know about the rest of the world.) It’s a nice little clip, showing Vettori’s wickets, and an odder set of three wickets you’re not likely to see.
So that’s three wins from three against India (though I don’t think this one counts as an official game, given that both teams were given the option of playing as many as 13 players). If I understand the tournament schedule properly, NZ and India won’t be playing each other until at least the semi-finals.
A wonky distribution of runs amongst the batting order is a feature of NZ cricket. The success or failure of an innings often depends on the middle order. It is extremely lucky for us then that we have such good allrounders. In fact, our allrounders are the best players in the team.
Excellent bowler and middle-order batsman par exellence, so not much to say about his selection. He’d make just about every team in the world, maybe not for his bowling in some teams, but certainly for his all-round ability.
Again, an instant selection, barring injury. Even though he often bats at 7, he is one of our best batsmen. His bowling is also ‘handy’. So he wouldn’t hold his place in the team based on his bowling alone (does that disqualify him as an allrounder?), but considering that 3rd seamers are often in the mould of Scott Styris, Oram’s bowling is a huge asset.
It remains to be seen how the injury layoff has effected Franklin’s game. Before injury he was second only to Shane Bond as a bowler, so that should now make him our best. However, his injury is likely to have slowed him down and he is unlikely to bowl as much as he did before. Pre-injury, it really seemed that he had not fulfilled his potential as a batsman. There is a big difference between his test and first-class averages. He has been working hard on his batting, so it may be that what we lose from his bowling, we gain in his batting.
Check out the first three rounds of the round up (in one convenient package) back at Mike on Cricket.
Round 4 of the State Championship consisted of two games, while Auckland played the West Indies. CD beat Otago to go to the top of the table, despite Wgtn being in crushing form (averaging nearly 500/innings over 3 games). The innings of the week however was scored by Auckland, who swatted away the WI bowlers on a pitch that is oozing runs.
ND 310 & 198
Wgtn win by inns and 12 runs
Otago 357 & 281
CD 378 & 261/2
CD win by 8 wickets
Top bat: It is hard to go past Richard Jones’ double hundred, but Josh Brodie’s maiden century deserves mention. Franklin’s 160 may have helped his recall to the Black Caps. Top bowl: Gillespie’s 8/124 match.