Jan 7 2009

The Caketin chews up another visiting team

West Indies all out in 41.4 overs. The scores of the visiting teams at the Caketin for the last three years have been 138 (Australia), 120 (England) and now 128. NZ’s winning margins for the previous two years have been 10 and 6 wickets. The ground is not friendly to visitors.

128 is a pretty poor score, but is not the lowest score the Windies has against us. The record low score is 123, scored at Margao, Goa. That’s one record I am not keen to see broken actually, as that was a game I was present at.

Led by a 5-22 by Matty Hart, we rolled Courtney Walsh’s men for 123. We then very shakily held off a few overs before the heavens opened for about 10 minutes or so, followed by bright sunshine, but with no chance of drying out the field, despite the dozen or so people sopping up with cloths. The game was called off.

So that game in Margao was overall a disappointment, but it was part of a great adventure of mine. At the time I was living in Baroda, in north-western India. When the Black Caps came to India I was very excited and was really keen to see a match or two. They were scheduled to play at Baroda itself on the 28th, but the only other game I could reasonably make it to was the game at Goa on the 26th. (I was there on a scolarship so couldn’t afford to fly around the country.) So I concocted a plan. I got myself a train ticket down to Mumbai, but was relying on luck and my ability to unpick India’s complex transport services to get any further. I then took a nightmarish overnight bus trip down to Margao. So I was there for the first match. One day at Goa to get sunburnt at the beach and to watch Ken Rutherford get some throwdowns from the local boys at the stadium and refuse to comment on Willie Watson’s revelations that the Black Caps had once experimented with ball tampering. Then the match, with the early finish ensuring that I made it back to town in time for my bus, for another horrific overnight journey. From Mumbai, only 3rd class train tickets were available, so I had to sit on my bag, packed in just by the open carriage door, for about eight hours. But I made it back in time and got to the stadium for the next match (at the Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited Sports Complex Ground) and got myself a ticket, to see Rutherford and Tendulkar score centuries. An awesome little adventure.