The Power And The Glory

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Hard to know what to say after a match like that. I should crack jokes and stuff for this blog war thing with Short Of A Length, but don’t really know how. Ultimately India take an unassailable lead in the series, and New Zealand have another epically awful bowling performance to despair over, but those bare facts disguise a truly momentous game of cricket. Had one or two inscrutable moments rolled another way we might have won, or lost by 200 or so.

In any case, some highlights. Sachin Tendulkar’s century was maybe the best ODI innings I’ve ever seen, beautifully paced (he brought up his half-century of 59; his century at a run a ball; by the time he retired hurt he was on 163 off 133) and such effortless hitting. I truly believed until his stomach strain that he was going to break the last great batting barrier, the ODI double century. Tim Southee outdid him though, bringing up his century in under 60 balls, a truly terrible day with the ball for him, though he partially redeemed himself with some quick runs at the close. Oh, and the match had the small matter of 726 runs scored on the day, the second-highest in ODI history.What else? India scored 10 or more off 14 of their 50 overs, and the 18 sixes India hit equalled the record for an ODI innings. New Zealand responded with 11 of their own, the match tally must surely be a record too. Jesse Ryder hit the 3rd fastest century by a New Zealander, and should have had the fastest but for a speed wobble that ran into the most unfortunate period of the match for New Zealand.

That spell, when we lost four wickets for 22 runs, and went from cruising, with India looking totally panic-stricken, was the undoing of the match. The horrible run-out of McCullum, on I think Ryder’s bad call (though McCullum looked slower than usual between the wickets), sparked India out of their inexplicable slump, and after the similarly mental runout of Taylor, then Baxter’s utterly abysmal decision on Guptil, our momentum and best batsmen were gone.

So I guess this should really be part of the blog wars with Short Of A Length, but I just can’t bring myself to fight. It was too good a game, even if the ending came a little short of where I might have liked. If I have to, though, I’ll make a few comments. Firstly, India’s fielding before the McCullum runout was comically bad. Dhoni’s drop, then Yuvraj’s… We should have been bundled out for 150, really, and the ground fielding was sloppy as hell too, like Sri Lanka in the  early ’90s or something. Also, having a bowler forcibly removed from the crease for persistent height no-balls when you’re defending 392 is just shameful as hell. We smashed your spinners for a little while. What else? Sehwag only got three runs.

Aside from that, it was pretty much the most crushingly cominant batting display i’ve ever seen, as bad as our bowling was (where the f*** did this horrible new shin-high full toss that we’re sending down about once an over appear from?) India’s batting, the beauty of Tendulkar and the savagery of Yuvraj was as close to perfect as I could ever hope to see.

So, uh, good work, you’ve got the series, or half of it guaranteed, and the only saving grace for New Zealand is that our openers look in pretty reasonable nick, and that Dan should be back for the next one. On Tuesday, in Hamilton. Another wee ground, and one we’ve chased big on before, so maybe the signs have moved ever so slightly in our favour after a fairly shambolic start to the campaign… A man can dream, right?

– Duncan

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Power And The Glory

  1. Feel for you guys, that Guptill decision was horrible and probably the point of no return. Have to say I thought we were about to witness (embarrassingly) the second highest successful chase in ODI history. Fantastic start from McCullum and Ryder.
    In light of what has been a day of intense but draining battle, I propose a temporary ceasefire until the next game.
    What a match!

  2. The true turning point of the match was when McCullum hit a 6 into the wastelands of the new stand and Raina and another Indian player joined a security guard hunting for the ball. Raina came back out limping quite badly, we all said ‘this is where it goes wrong’ and within 10 minutes we’d lost 3 wickets.

    Typical NZ, last ditch effort starts getting close, Mills gets caught twice off noballs in an over and the bowler gets ejected, the crowd is going crazy and then the part time offie shuts it down.

    Was the Taylor run out out? They only showed one extremely brief replay at the ground and it looked pretty dodgy.

    My favourite “Go India” signs were the ones written in vivid on the back of last weeks Womens Weekly cover posters that you see out the front of dairys.

    The Indian innings was amazing, it was all so effortless, at the ground you’re not totally aware of the number of every ball and it just feels like you’re clapping boundaries quite a lot until you realise just how often. Unlike that new keeper we have who looked stoked with himself that he’d managed to defend a regulation ball. We were hoping Southee might become the first player to score a hundred in each innings. Felt sorry for the guy being made to bowl his last couple of overs, wonder what he did to piss everyone off?

    Indian ground fielding is comically bad. I know they have a reputation for it but it was hilarious, especially their boundary riders and Harbhajan who run like they have mad cow or something. That skied catch that was dropped near the end was because the 3 Indians who could’ve got there all just looked at each other for a while. In saying all that McCullum is a surprisingly terrible fielder almost never stopping the ball cleanly.

  3. Pingback: The India-New Zealand Blogging Wars « Kridaya

  4. Duncan

    The Taylor run out was definitely out. Moronic bit of cricket that. I’m generally the first one to go apeshit beyond the call of duty when there’s a sniff of injustice (see: my current status update), but while one angle looked dodgy, there’s another which is definitive. I was actually pleased I wasn’t at the game. I tend to get very drunk and not really be aware of what’s happening when I go to pyjama cricket, whereas my recall of watching games on tv tends to be pretty sharp even years after the event. McCullum’s ground fielding is oddly off, but how terrible was McGlashin’s missed stumping? the guy only had to catch about 13 balls the entire match and drops the only one which matters. Career is over. And I know exactly what you mean re: the McCullum six… there was something about the opportunity to pause and take in the state of the match and how it had tilted our way ever so slightly that made me sure we were about to blow it.
    @achettup: I need a ceasefire badly… It’s been a torrid 24 hours, I need to find a vat of self-respect and a way to even contemplate New Zealand beating this nightmare team of yours. Will take a good while, I fear. But I’ve a soft spot for Hamilton as a venue, and I’m pretty sure the Black Caps feel the same way. Until then…

  5. Admittedly, this is a setback in our war against Short of a Length (which you have fought admirably on the rest of our behalf), but I actually took quite a few positives from this game.

    A) Vetorri wasn’t playing, which I think cost us about 30 runs. Those were the ones Ryder conceded bowling during India’s power play. Surely, Vetorri would’ve put another bowler on for that period?

    B) We actually scored 334 runs with 5 overs left. That’s pretty respectful, even with the shameful middle order collapse. Minus those 30 runs we would have gained with Vetorri and we might have been even closer. For a brief moment I though Southee and Mills might do something really, really special.

    Ok, I might be pushing it. I’m usually not one to see the bright side of a loss , but in this case, after India’s insane batting display, I’m kind of amazed we had a chance. I’m also gutted we threw that away in cheap fashion. But still.

    Anyway, bring on Hamilton, a win, and the consequential loss of Short of a Lengths internet connection.

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