Black Caps vic­tory a great come­back

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By STEVEN SA­MUELS

The Black Caps played the first ODI against Eng­land on Sun­day in front of a full house in glo­ri­ous con­di­tions at Sed­don Park.

New Zealand won the toss and Bren­don McCul­lum elected to bowl.

Ian Bell and Jonathon Trott put on a part­ner­ship of 84 with Bell scor­ing a half cen­tury.

Eng­land bat­ted them­selves into a very strong po­si­tion be­ing 184 for 2 in the 38th over.

With 12 overs to go, and with Eng­land in com­plete con­trol, a score in ex­cess of 300 looked likely.

How­ever, the bowlers stuck to their task bowl­ing good lines, backed up by smart field­ing. With the pres­sure be­ing con­sis­tently ap­plied, even­tu­ally the wick­ets started to fall.

The pol­icy of play­ing sev­eral all­rounders worked in New Zealand’s favour as McCul­lum was able to keep chang­ing the bowlers.

Even­tu­ally quick wick­ets fell and Eng­land found them­selves all out for 259 in the 49th over.

Per­haps the high­light of the in­nings was a spec­tac­u­lar catch by McCul­lum.

He had started to move to his left, but the ball had nicked the bat, mean­ing McCul­lum had to stop, push vi­ciously off his left leg, dive full length and glove the ball cen­time­tres above the ground.

In New Zealand’s in­nings, Kane Wil­liamson played a mas­ter­ful in­nings, top scor­ing with 74, be­fore be­ing run out to a ‘‘Yes, no – oh sorry’’ sit­u­a­tion from McCul­lum.

Af­ter that, McCul­lum had to bat well, and did – putting in a real cap­tain’s knock, scor­ing a wel­learned half cen­tury.

New Zealand went on to win by three wick­ets, af­ter the in­jured Martin Gup­till re­turned and fin­ished the game off with a few lusty blows to the boundary.

Gup­till’s in­jury raises a few ques­tion marks as to who will re­place him in the re­main­ing ODIs and the tests. If Gup­till is not avail­able, I would go for Daniel Flynn or Hamish Rutherford.

I was very glad to see the row­ing duo of Hamish Bond and Eric Mur­ray awarded Team of the Year at the Hal­berg awards.

The award recog­nises all the hours of hard train­ing over the past four of five years and their un­be­liev­able dom­i­nance through­out this time.

They ab­so­lutely dom­i­nated the race for the gold medal last year, mak­ing many peo­ple feel proud to be New Zealan­ders.

Rugby has al­ways been my first choice sport to sup­port, but I was glad that the team of the year award went to some other team other than the All Blacks.

Su­per Rugby fi­nally ar­rives this week­end for Kiwi teams when the Chiefs play the High­landers in Dunedin. This should be a really good game be­tween evenly matched teams.

The other game is be­tween the Hur­ri­canes and the Blues – a clash be­tween the young bucks of New Zealand Su­per Rugby. Two very ex­cit­ing games to kick off the rugby sea­son.

Ly­dia Ko once again proved what a for­mi­da­ble tal­ent she is by win­ning the New Zealand Women’s Open last week and fol­low­ing that up by coming third in the Aus­tralian Open over the week­end.

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