Category: New Zealand (page 1 of 30)

When should we start thinking about the World T20?

Apparently things don’t ‘hove into view’. They actually heave into view – it’s just that no-one says that. One thing’s for certain though, things that demand this verb are large and cumbersome. A cat never heaves into a view, for example (although it may well heave while in view, if it’s eaten something disagreeable).

The World T20 is currently heaving/hoving/heave-hoing into view. It will be played in India, but if you’re looking for signs of how it might pan out, all you currently have to go off are one-day internationals in New Zealand and South Africa.

Wrong format, wrong place, but some of the right teams. There are probably too many variables to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Nevertheless, it was striking that Australia have instantly reverted to losing after spending their entire home summer winning. This one-day series against the Kiwis also serves as their warm-up for the Tests, which seems like the kind of scheduling which demands punishment in a shrill, hectoring voice.

England are of course playing South Africa at this very moment. At the time of writing, a Jason Roy cameo had removed the slips, allowing Alex Hales to spank outside off with impunity. It’s possible that a sizeable total is heaving into view.


Kane Williamson: Lord Megachief of Gold 2015

Our annual Lord Megachief of Gold award is the highest honour in cricket. The title is recognition of performance over the previous calendar year. Here are all the previous winners.

Last year, the Lord Megachief of Gold award was split with both Brendon McCullum and Angelo Mathews honoured. This year, one man is out there on his own.

Photos by Sarah Ansell

Photos by Sarah Ansell

All aboard the Kane train

Destination: who knows? But the journey will take a while and it’ll feature many, many runs.

A number of players have made 200-300 Test runs more than Kane Williamson in 2015. All of them have played at least 50 per cent more matches. He averaged 90.15 for the year.

New Zealand only get short tours – batsmen don’t get long to acclimatise – but yet in every series he played, he made a hundred. Against England, at Lord’s, he made 132. Against Australia he made 140 at Brisbane and 166 at Perth. The year was also bookended by contrasting hundreds at home against Sri Lanka.

In Wellington, back in January, he made light of a 135-run first innings deficit and made 242 not out in the second innings. He trumped Kumar Sangakkara’s 203 and New Zealand won. It would have been a passing-of-the-baton moment if cricket had a baton to signify its finest batsman – which it doesn’t. It has a mace for best Test team though. Against that backdrop it doesn’t seem all that ludicrous to introduce a Baton of Blinding Batsmanship.

More recently, Williamson made a hundred in a fourth innings run-chase. You don’t get many of those. He alone contributed what you could realistically have expected the entire team to muster in those circumstances. New Zealand won.

Cricket - England v New Zealand - Investec Test Series - First Test Day 3 - Lord's Cricket Ground, London, England - 23 May 2015

How?

In that mammoth double hundred in Wellington, Williamson made just 72 in boundaries. That’s not the way big innings are built in this day and age. When there’s a high score in New Zealand, it’s often at a small ground. There was no inflation here though. He faced 438 balls and just 18 of them went to the fence.

In contrast, when he made 140 in Brisbane, 96 runs came in boundaries. It’s almost like he was a different batsman, which in many ways sums up his brilliance.

In summary

Oh, by the way, Williamson was also the second-highest scorer in one-day internationals and during the World Cup, he demonstrated how to hit a six.

We hereby move that henceforth, whenever Williamson comes in to bat, all commentators must intone the words: “New Zealand are about to administer the Kane.”


Is Brendon McCullum retiring too soon?

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Yes. Yes he is. The answer you are looking for is ‘yes’.

Now that he’s a statesmanlike trendsetter and role model, the very embodiment of what cricket should be, it’s easy to forget that for many years Brendon McCullum was just a mediocre wicketkeeper-batsman who typically flailed then failed in the Test format. Despite short format successes, it was only around 2010 when he started looking like a semi-reliably devastating batsman in the serious stuff and there have been great fallow stretches even since then.

You wouldn’t say he’s exactly cracked it now, but last year’s performances were enough to see him named Conjoined Lord Megachief of Gold and if this year hasn’t seen such highs, it surely wouldn’t have been foolish to anticipate further impressive peaks to come. Those that preceded it were sufficiently lofty that even if he’s since declined, there was a very long way to fall.

But that’s not McCullum’s way. Nor is it most people’s way. You spend a long, long time working towards the top, but once you’ve reached your summit there’s typically little appetite for dallying around at fractionally lower altitudes. You may have acclimatised and it may be more comfortable than on the way up, but where’s the motivation? Far better to head back down to a shower and a nice warm bed and maybe watch a bit of telly.

 


Kane Williamson bats with the strength of many men

The sequence was completed: 292, 237, 133, 108. Descending scores as batting conditions became tougher and tougher.

Wait a minute. The first three of those are team scores. The last one isn’t. The sequence actually reads: 292, 237, 133, 189 – of which Kane Williamson alone contributed 108.

Fourth innings hundreds are rare. Fourth innings hundreds to win matches are rarer still. You might get a couple of declarations and then find yourself batting out time in the fourth innings and reach three figures in the process, but to achieve it when sides are being bowled out is another matter altogether.

Kane Williamson basically contributed an entire team’s performance as New Zealand won the second Test against Sri Lanka. Some would call this Herculean, but if you’re our age, it’s another man who’s synonymous with feats of strength. Kane Williamson’s performance was truly Capesian.


Neil Wagner isn’t perfect

There aren’t many media outlets where this would be headline news. It is here though. New Zealand’s fourth seamer isn’t flawless. Stop the press!

It may only have been the day before yesterday, but it already seems a long, long time since we suggested that Neil Wagner never lets you down. The ‘never’ was always an exaggeration; rhetoric, if you will. Now it’s hollow, empty rhetoric that doesn’t really seem to make much sense. The Wagnermeister, as no-one calls him, took 0-49 off seven overs on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka. That, ladies and gentlemen, is gash.

So not content with merely failing to back up our claims, it seems Wagner went out of his way to actively disprove them. He didn’t even manage to run in all day. Brendon McCullum didn’t let him, what with all the runs he was conceding.


Older posts

© 2016 King Cricket

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑