Bald man, the rushed tidy-up before the parents get home, A DISGRACE (thanks James Taylor), the dung heap, Donald Trump and much more. And imagine the outcry if this was in India (thanks Indian Cricket Twitter)
There is nothing like a bit of hyperbolic pitch chatter to build-up to a big international.
Cricket fans seem to know so much about pitches without always knowing the details behind it. For example, a photo of a pitch 24 hours out from a game given you an indication of what it will be like when play stats, but that’s all.
And as any captain who has inserted the opposition at the Basin on an apparent green top, only to regret it, will tell you; appearances can be deceiving.
The pitches at Westpac Stadium have naturally always been drop-in pitches. And historically have involved rye grass.
While there have been some low scoring affairs, New Zealand famously scored 393 in a World Cup knockout game there, and it also provided one of the most exciting high-scoring ODIs played in this country.
There have been 20 days in Wellington this summer compared with one last year. Nothing in Wellington is built to be handle that sort of carry on; let alone rye grass trying to get over some disease. Next season they are looking at using the more tropical ccochie grass.
Climate change is real, and it is having all sorts of unexpected consequences.
Then the game started. New Zealand made their way to 33/0 after 4 overs and there was a collective sigh of relief.
Wondering if the groundsman has cracked his first beer yet? #NZvENG
— Peter Clinton (@PeterClinton5) February 13, 2018
It wasn’t as if England bowled badly either; even Mark Wood wasn’t that bad. Their attack of T20 experts used all the tricks of Yorkers, slower balls etc, and mostly executed them very well.
Guptill played his best T20 innings of the summer, Williamson made people wonder what all the fuss was about and there were a re couple of good cameos from the debutants. New Zealand ended up with 196/5; the equal highest T20 score at Westpac Stadium.
Alex Hales didn’t have too many problems with the pitch either. The NFL inspired celebration from Southee when he holed out showed just how well he played. You don’t score 47 off 24 if you’re worried about the pitch.
The Required Run Rate stayed static at around 10 for the first half of the innings, before slowly creeping up to 12. Enter Willey and it was back to around 10.
Even when Boult, who had been expensive early on, got his Yorker radar right at the end of the 18th over, England still had hope in the form of David Willey. In the end he got pegged back by Southee and it wasn’t to be.
The final margin of 12 runs slightly flattered the hosts.
Not many T20 internationals maintain the interest throughout, but this one certainly did.