In some ways these Cricket World Cup games are not going to tell us everything, as various strategies are tinkered with. For example, would Corey Anderson have bowled at The Death if that was a knock-out match? And were they trying to simulate some match day situation in the chase? Ronchi’s dismissal would hint at that.
But they do raise all sorts of questions in the run-up to the tournament.
Although watching an offie bowling around the wicket to right-handers is hard work; that was an impressive spell from Nathan McCullum today. The head-to-head battle between Vettori and him over the next couple of months will be fascinating, and is bound to have more twists and turns. Handy little innings at the close too.
Another of the head-to-head contests; between McClenaghan and Milne indicated that perhaps there is a place for both. Milne at the top of the innings was superb and, on top of the commentators’ obsession with the speedball radar, actually got it to swing a bit. He also had a hand in the Batting Powerplay where the score was 24/1 at a time when the two batsmen were set
McCleneghan’s resilience was impressive too. His first two overs went for 15, and he ended up with 4 for 36, including a triple wicket maiden in the 47th. Right now, it would be hard to leave either of these out.
The fielding in the middle overs today really added an attacking, rather than just restricting, aspect to the New Zealand game. An inner circle of a couple of McCullums, Guptill, Williamson and with Taylor to return is impressive. The pressure they created was a big factor in Mathews’s run out, and there could have been more.
The run chase had a little bit of everything. Brendon McCullum’s innings was anything but a Captain’s Knock in the conventional sense, and he will no doubt come in for his fair share of general public outrage during the week. However, he did score more than the rest of the top five could manage so it might be best to look elsewhere.
It is too early to get officially concerned about Guptill, Williamson was undone by a great piece of all-round cricket, and Elliott looked as if he hadn’t played at this level for 18 months. In some ways the batsman who will feel he missed out the most was Latham. He did the hard work early before trying to charge Dilshan.
That was a very important innings from Anderson though. A batting line-up with him in form is a totally different proposition from one with him scratching.
Feedback from the ground said Elliott was jeered by a part of the crowd. We have two and a half months of this.
Now then; how does that silly 2014/5 ODI MVP table look now? Awkwardly, Matt Henry is still on top.
- CJA Anderson. Held the innings together well. Mixtures of the Big Hitting Anderson we know, mixed with a patience lacking from some of those around him.
- McClenaghan. That 47th over alone wiped around 30 off the total.