Sports

From the Grandstand by Col Hennessy

FRENEMIES

Yes readers, we have a somewhat new word used by T/20 cricket captain Aaron Finch. He was doing some PR work in front of the World Cup the other night just prior to the final. He was describing the relationship between Australia and our Tasman neighbours. Friends in every way except on the sporting field. Maybe!

I got up a couple of times to check on the match (with a little reminder from my bladder) and once we had won the toss and decided to bat second, I knew we were in with a chance. I say that because nearly every match was won in this tournament by the side batting second and knowing what score they were chasing and how to pace that chase. That will have to change as it was almost 100% when good sides played each other, and the wicket not affected by dew etc.

Take this very final for instance. The Kiwis put together a very competitive score of 4-172 which if we had batted, we probably would have accepted. However, at the half-way stage they were only 1-57 and so you can see that when the race was on for runs they could up the ante (and they did scoring 115 runs off the last ten overs). That is twice the run rate of the first half of the innings. Australia always had the players who could match that.

I don’t particularly like T/20. It’s entertaining as in a baseball match and maybe that’s what the fans like with plenty of sixes hit and some smart fielding but there is no building of an innings in the traditional sense. I mean to say when you have ten batsmen to dismiss in twenty overs its hardly ever going to happen. Even minnows like Numidia can bat out time against quality attacks but not score sufficient runs.

Mitchell Starc bowled well in his opening overs but when push came to shove and the Kiwis really needed runs, then good balls get smashed, and the batters go the long handle. In the end one of his final overs went for 22 runs which is silly as he was still bowling well. Always there will be one or two batsmen who will get the runs, and such was the depth of the Aussies if it wasn’t Marsh, it would be Wade or Warner. Smith was hardly sighted all tournament.

The Kiwis can still lay claim to being the top cricket nation though. They won the Test trophy this year which is based on all the test matches played against all opposition around the world over the last couple of years and beat India in the final. They were only beaten by a technicality really against England in the one-day (50 overs) tournament in 2019. And now this match which really could have gone either way as is the way these games generally are. Toss of a coin was paramount to deciding the winner.

I think the Bledisloe Cup should be played in a similar way.

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