Saturday, May 1, 2010
Kiwis win a thriller!
It was a match that lasted the distance and saw the pendulum swing from one side to another but in the end, it was Kiwis, who held their nerve to win a close encounter. The organisers couldn't have asked for a better start to the tournament as in the second match, the home team cruised through a comfortable victory.
Srilankan batsmen looked rusty and leaving Mahela, none of the other players could adjust to the sluggish nature of the wicket at Guyana. Dilshan again looked out of sorts and the plan of having the fine leg and deep third man up in the ring though was a risky move, helped to choke Dilshan as he only looked to make room and hit through the off-side. In the end, he threw his wicket away by trying a wild slog through the off-side. Mahela on the other hand played beautifully. As I said on my blog, Mahela showed great wrist work, known famously as Asian wrists and played late to get a stylish 81. His ability to open the face and guide it past the vacant deep third man or backward point frustrated the Kiwis. He also played fine shots over deep square leg and the long on region. Srilanka have been troubled by the fact that Jayasuriya wasn't clicking as a opener and the move to send Mahela to open the batting paid off.
The debutant Chandimal, came up with a few lusty blows, though was dropped by Hopkins, who hasn't impressed me as a keeper, but McCullum seems to be very reluctant to do the job. Anyway, coming back to the Lankan batting display, leaving Mahela and to a lesser extent Chandimal, others struggled to make a mark on that sluggish wicket at Guyana.
The Kiwis tried their best to take the pace off the ball with Vettori, Styris and Oram doing well. Bond went for a few runs, but thankfully after giving a six in his last over, he at least came back well. Southee bowled a very good last over too. To be frank, the Kiwis bowled well as a unit.
Everyone knew that a score of 135 on the Guyana pitch was about the par score and was never going to be easy for NZ to chase it down. NZ lost McCullum early and to be frank, from the first delivery he looked like getting out as he tried to come hard at the ball. Every batsman should play according to the conditions on offer, but McCullum didn't and paid the price. Actually, for a man coming back from an injury, Ryder played well as he tried to play late and succeeded. I was confused whether it was Ryder who has comeback from an injury or was it McCullum? Guptill and Taylor struggled a bit and the run-rate started to climb with the wily old fox Murali and Jayausirya choking the Kiwi batsmen into making mistakes. Oram showed a bit of guts by slogging a few and again Kiwis looked to be in front, but he tried to slog one too many and got out. Vettori though again scored a boundary by finding a gap between deep fine leg and mid wicket region and I don't know how he does it, but that boundary helped to release the pressure just a bit. The Kiwis still needed 10 runs in the last over and it was to be bowled by the end overs specialist Malinga, but unfortunately for Malinga and the team, he missed those yorkers for once as the other McCullum kept his cool to win a close match for the Kiwis.
It is a very important victory for the Kiwis as the other team in the group, Zimb. have the line up to do well at Guyana. For Srilanka, they have to think about their batting. Yes, 135 wasn't a bad score at Guyana, but only one man fired for them. Anyway, great to see the tournament being kicked off with a very good match.