February 18, 2012

Cricket: South Africa V New Zealand Blackcaps

Last night, a mate and I went to see the first big match in the South African’s tour of New Zealand.  Having passes, we went to the members lounge, had a beer and chatted to some acquaintances until the game started.

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bowl, inserting the Proteas and opening with one of a number of spinners in their side from one end and a quick from the other.  This combination worked well with the Blackcaps capturing regular wickets throughout the early part of the 20 over match, forcing the South African batsmen to a lot more careful in their shot collection during the middle overs in their innings.  Towards the end of their allotted 20 overs, the Proteas, with wickets in hand, were able to open up a bit, lifting their scoring rate including four consecutive 6’s off one over finishing their innings at 147 for the loss of 6 wickets.

Then it was New Zealand’s turn to bat.  South Africa opened with pace from both ends but the Blackcaps batsmen took their time and picked the right balls to hit to good effect.  Unlike the Proteas who were at one stage 4 down for only 52 runs, the Blackcaps first wicket fell at 49, the second at 90, so they were never really under pressure to lift the scoring rate at any time during their 20 overs. Eventually winning with 4 balls to spare.  The South Africans were less disciplined than the Blackcaps, conceding a number of wides as well as a couple of No Balls!

The match itself was, as they say in football, a game of two halves.  New Zealand fielded with enthusiasm and purpose with quick changes in bowlers and in the field whenever necessary, whereas the South Africans were much slower in what they did, taking their time, changing their fielding placements regularly to slow the game down and try to fill the gaps where the Blackcaps batsmen were scoring their runs.

There was some lusty hitting by both teams, something that the just under 18,000 crowd had come to see.  One of the highlight’s being when Martin Guptill who carried his bat for an unbeaten 78 not out, nearly cleared the roof of the stadium, this shortly after hitting a ball against the window of one of the lounges square of the wicket!  And to make the match complete from a Wellington point of view, the winning runs for New Zealand was a four scored by the local hero, James Franklin!

Overall, a good night’s cricket in excellent Wellington weather before a vocal but well behaved crowd.

See the Watzon listing for upcoming matches.

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