Wow, last night was fun, if you were in the crowd that is; that’s value for money for the paying public!
Unfortunately I was dropped for this match or fortunate for me if I was to believe some txt from friends; fortunate not to be a part of the exhibition of batting and the onslaught the Indians brought to the ground yesterday. I don’t feel fortunate at all. I was gutted to be dropped, it hurt a lot. I understood but it still doesn’t sit well when you’re sitting on the side line wishing to have an effect on the match. The match would have been different if I had of played, no matter how you look at it. It might have been my day and things gone my way, maybe doing something special, or not, I could have had a really bad day and we got beaten by more. But either way I’d have preferred to have had the opportunity to have been a part of that match.
I hadn’t bowled as well as I had hoped, or as well as I can, in the previous two One Dayers (Napier and Wellington) and that was the reason I was passed over. I had missed too often to Sehwag and he had hurt me (42 runs from the 21 balls I had bowled to him in the two ODI’s). After the Wellington match I had a pretty bad night (and half of the next day), the night (and day) when the demons come out and play with my head; like they sometimes do after efforts that haven’t been good enough. Add to that a couple of personal things going on and my head space didn’t make for a great place to be. But this is the test, how I deal with this stuff and I you bounce back.
Wellington’s ODI I was looking forward to. Just the second time I would get to play at the Stadium in front of a noisy home crowd for NZ. I was buzzing. I had bowled as well as I had ever done the day before in the nets, hit my lines and lengths virtually perfect to the plans we’ve set out; and this is one of the reason why I was so disappointed after the match.
I had the opportunity to watch some highlights (mostly lowlights for me) on the TV when we got to the hotel in Christchurch after the match as well as spending time ‘inside my head’; I noticed something that originally I had been very happy with. I’m not going to mention it yet but I feel that my consistency, accuracy and my ability to stick to a plan, my strength up until now, had been affected by one thing. And it’s something I have been doing in training but not taking with me into a match. It’s possibly the one thing that has held me back more often in my career than anything else. I went to our Bowling Coach for a chat straight away. It was from here I was able to escape the dark times and demons in my head. A positive chat and quick look over some analysis information from the T20’s and ODI’s previous and I felt normal again and ready for the next day’s match. I wasn’t to play though.
My bowling at Wellington wasn’t great, although if you take out the stats to Sehwag, I wasn’t too bad. He’s just hitting the ball so well at the moment, playing with no fear and it’s coming off. In my first over he slashed at two deliveries that flew either side of Jake, at point; had one of them gone to hand, things might have been different. Unfortunately I bowled too many balls in areas that we have basically declared ‘no go zones’. After a couple of rain breaks, which were forecast, I bowled one more over, in the batting power play. This wasn’t my best work but I did pick up a wicket, a small chance to celebrate, although the ball I got the wicket with wasn’t one of the better balls I had bowled; I’ll take it though and on days like that, you got to!
So, yesterdays match. As I said, wow! For the first time in a long time we were without Dan; he had a wife, and now baby, he HAD to be with. Congrats mate! That meant that Baz would be captain. And as any captain worth his salt does, he won the toss.
Sachin was special yesterday and it was only an injury that halted him in a charge for 200, individually. That’s a pretty scary thing to think about; one player scoring that many runs in an ODI. Again though, the thing we take from it is that we didn’t bowl very well to him or the others. It was not a 390 pitch or ground; it was more like a 320 pitch and ground. The boundaries are very short in places and are very difficult to defend on a good day, let alone yesterday. It was good, though, to see the sun shine and the DL sheets stay in pockets.
After so many fireworks it just got better for the crowd. Jesse and Baz opened up the innings, and really opened up. Jesse’s hundred, on any other day, would have been a match winning knock. This was his first ODI ton and against a very good bowling attack, in a chase that was going to need some special things to happen, he really showed how much he’s learning about his game and sticking to his strengths. Baz’s knock was another display of how much he has moved on as an opener; boundaries and then singles to get the ‘on fire’ Jesse back on strike. Unfortunately we just couldn’t keep the run rate up without losing wickets; that was going to be the problem in a monster run chase.
With Millsy and Timmy at the crease the chase was virtually gone, although with nothing to lose, they swung and swung hard. Millsy hit his first ODI 50 in brilliant display of hitting and with Timmy they put on 83 in about 7 overs. At one stage there was a thought going through the ‘shed’ that this was possible if things kept working in our favour. I was sent out with a message to tell them to ‘just keep swinging’ basically take any thought of being fancy and actually ‘trying’ to win it as opposed to ‘if it happens, it happens, keep playing with no fear.’ That was all good until Munif Patel got taken off for two delivers above waist high and was replaced with Pathan; the change of pace meant the boys had to play slightly differently, and with that change, Millsy was dismissed. Tim was then dismissed the next over and game over; a chase to big but one that was entertaining and where four of the lads hit new high scores.
Now, in Hamilton, a curry for tea, a good nights sleep and off to the nets tomorrow to keep working on being better....