Tag Archives: Short Of A Length

Seasons In The Abyss

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When the darkness came, we accepted it gratefully, knowing that in its embrace lay a glimmer of hope. Hope that we might avoid defeat for a second test in a row, and thereby retain some shred of dignity and carry that into the winter.

The forecast is pretty average for today, though the forecasters have been wrong before, but there’s a fair chance that New Zealand might be able to fumble their way through however many balls we get to the end of play, and a 1-0 test series loss.

How are we supposed to feel about this? All blogwarring aside, a better team than ours, with far more talented players, came to our country and beat us in a test series. We can complain about our bowling and certain batsmen, but it was those simple facts that decided the series.

The beauty of cricket is that such is the ability of one player to impose their will upon the game that there was always a sliver of hope that we might see a different result. When Ryder hit his double century we were part way there, waiting only for a bowler to answer the call and join him in his reverie. Continue reading

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Filed under Cricket, Reminiscing, Soccer

A Good Time To Be Indian

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When the best thing you can say about a match from New Zealand’s perspective is that we avoided an innings defeat, you know it hasn’t gone according to plan. 10 wickets is comprehensive enough anyway, but the stubbornness McCullum and O’Brien showed was pleasing in terms of staving off that ultimate humiliation.

The good thing about a loss like this is that it can’t help but force changes. The batting line-up had an off match, though one of our top six went to a dubious decision in each innings, but ultimately those guys deserve another shot. A seam bowling attack comprising Mills, O’Brien and Martin (Franklin considers himself a ‘batsman who bowls’, so let’s leave him aside) is manifestly inadequate, and definitely lacking in the variety and sheer danger to win matches at this level. All of these guys have their moments, for sure, but they’re too infrequent to pass muster, and Mills wouldn’t be playing test cricket for any other nation in the world. But this loss, like all the others on this tour, feels more like defeat at the hands of a better team, and less like a regular New Zealand implosion, than most in recent times. Continue reading

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Engine Trouble

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118 balls is quite a few. It’s two less than the entire number you get in a Twenty20, and 34 more than India won by in the last ODI when Sehwag became the world’s fastest Indian. But  Short Of A Length Punter’s Biggest Fan Blog devoted seven of their eight paragraphs to analysis of Dhoni’s captaincy… Interesting way to look at it. Particularly given that the main gripe, that Mahendra took the bowling powerplay immediately after the first ten overs, is a marginal one anyway in my opinion.

I feel like Dhoni could argue that taking the powerplay at that point, defending such an abysmal total, meant that there was more pressure on the batsmen. The way Guptil and Ryder were batting, having men clustered inside the circle waiting for a miscue was as valid a tactic as spreading the field and hoping to stifle. ANYWAY. I’m not going to be drawn into the blame-the-Indians debate. This was New Zealand’s pride-salvaging first win in the ODIs, and deserves celebrating.

So why do I think we won? Because the Indians have only got one gear…

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The Phony War Is Over

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(video irrelevant, I was just desperately trying to find something to distract from NZ’s recent on-field performance, and this worked best)

Hmmff. It seems that Short Of A Length has come out all guns blazing in the blog wars, ripping New Zealand a new one for a whole host of reasons – most, bizarrely involving Andrew Symonds (they’ve never really gotten over that little chat he had with Harbhajan over there, apparently). They’ve also asked the hard questions, like, for example, ‘Where are all the hobbits Duncan, WHERE. ARE. ALL. THE. HOBBITS???’. We’ll get to that in good time, ‘friend’.

For those mystified by the above paragraph, here’s a brief recap. While I was away sunning myself in Scotland a few weeks back I received an elecrtronic mail from a man named Antony Something-or-other, the CEO of a vast cricketing media organisation called Short Of A Length. The piece of correspondence cheerily challenged our own vast cricketing media organisation to a war of ‘words’ with his own, chiefly concerned with (but by no means limited to) the impending Indian tour of New Zealand. Being the charitable sorts that we are, we accepted graciously, despite the fact that we were fielding a solid second-string club side against an Indian squad which has at least seven future hall-of-famers amongst its number. That’s the sort of thing New Zealanders do, right? Gamely wander out to certain slaughter because, well, it’d be impolite not to. Then the unthinkable happened. Continue reading

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Groundhog Days

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“Leaving the ball outside off stump is a waste of time.”

The above quote kinda summed up a Twenty20 which more-or-less rehashed the first of the series, with the same outcome – albeit via a slightly more nervewracking methodology. So why was it such a fantastically compelling game of cricket?

Firstly, the quote’s author is Virender Sehwag, whose innings of 24 off 11 versus his first game returns of 26 from 10 should have tipped us to the Punxsutawney Phil-indebted nature of the match from the start. Gambhir mirrored his first match ineffectuality, Yuvraj took over Raina’s role as the respectability provider, and Dhoni mirrored Harbhajan’s I-ate-all-the-balls knock from the Christchurch game. Final analysis: a score about 30 short of defendable again, notwithstanding the dog’s breakfast we made of chasing it down. At least the crowd was different:

rotated Continue reading

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Indian Summers

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Having been shivering my way through England and Scotland these past couple of weeks, with the only cricket news being that monumentally cool (if on another level ineffably sad) Stanford scandal all across the front pages – one I’m gonna try and approach that this weekend – it was something of a culture shock to arrive back to last night’s Twenty20.

Our friends over at Short of A Length have challenged us to something of a blog war over the course of the series, so I suppose it would be remiss of me not to have a good long gloat at the result of the match, one which went decidedly against forecast, and hopefully sets up a fine battle over the coming weeks. The thing I find most pleasurable about the outcome, from a very parochial perspective at least, is the extent to which I see the same gnawing issues in India’s play that plagued them during that infamous series last time they toured here. Continue reading

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