Winning is an amazing feeling and it's not necessarily something we've done enough of in the last 12 months. Last night was amazing. Last night we won. Not going to get carried away, but it was a great feeling beating the World Champion T20 team.
From the previous evening when we had had a very good 'scouting' session to crossing the white line last night just before 7pm I had a pretty good feeling about this match. Our 'scouting' notes were as complete as I've ever seen, it's not a complete document by any mean stretch of the imagination, but it's a very good place to start and we've added to it since last night; it's evolving. In fact the first thing I did after we came off the field was to write down some notes on a couple of their batters, I spied Dan doing the same thing, we'll discuss these before the next T20 in Wellington and re work some of the plans from there.
There is huge interest here in NZ for this series as I'm sure there is in India. There are a lot of excited Indians living here as well as the NZ public who have been looking forward to watching some of the most talented cricketers on this earth play on our soil. While walking around Christchurch there has been a lot of well wishes coming from the friendly public, it's an enjoyable thing when a stranger walks past and wishes you luck for the match and series. I really hope the crowds come out and support us at the grounds, like they did last night, and make it as fun as atmosphere as possible.
So, the game.... Dan won the toss, again, it is ridiculous how many he wins; never gamble against Dan, or do so and Dan, I'll take a cut! Oh yeah, Dan chose to bowl first.
It was to be Timmy and I to open the bowling and he'd get the first over, not quite the start we were hoping for though. Sehwag was amazing in the short time he was out there. With him and Gambhir opening the innings it's fair to say i was pretty nervous heading into my first over after Sehwag had taken Timmy for 19 off the first. From the notes we had gathered on these batters i had made some shorter notes that I had on a piece of paper in my pocket. I referred to these quite a few times while we were out there, in time I'll have them in memory, until then, I don't mind having to refer to my notes so that I am not getting the plan wrong. A quick little school up on them both and I'm into it. I felt pretty good, I did notice myself running in to hard for the first ball and pulled it back before I got to the crease, relaxed into it and got off to a nice start. I finished the over in the best way possible, a smile on my face, a leap and punch in the air, a whole heap of high fives and middle stump lying flat on the ground; now that is a great feeling! Gambhir, one of the danger men, gone but no chance to relax because there's a whole heap of those danger men to come.
I wouldn't normally recognise that I was running in to hard until maybe my second over, I was really pleased that i picked up on it first ball and gave me ever chance to get it right throughout my spell. I started my second over the same way i finished my first, except it was leg stump lying on the ground this time; they must have watered the stump holes to help them come out when hit, don't mind that as it does look good when a stump comes tumbling out. That's Sewhag out, 26 off 10 balls, one of the most destructive batters in the world and we saw, first hand, how destructive he could be in his short stay. Jake did say to me, ironically, in my second over that “we might be able to get this ball to reverse later” after the punishment the ball had taken while being hit at, into and over the new stand in construction.
I finished my first two overs with figures of 2-13, not the worst start and was feeling good getting around the park, fine leg to fine leg a couple of times, anywhere to keep out of the action as my fielding is a 'work in progress'; I'm not that bad but I'm certainly not as good as some of the others. Baz is always on my case with my throws to him and I was pretty happy not to get a angry look, a shake of the head or some 'expressive encouragement' from him the few times I had to get the ball back in; I'm working on it, but i do think I have the 'yips' when throwing back to him.
I came back for an over in the middle stages with the hope of a wicket, defensive plan to Raina and on the hunt to IK Pathan, the over went for five, happy with that, but no wicket. At that stage an over of 5 we were pretty happy with and that gave me 3 overs for 18; not bad with this batting line up. Alas, from there my figures then took a hit. I bowled the 19th over, Raina, still in and playing a great knock, with Harbhajan on strike. My plan was to try to keep the Harbhajan on strike as long as possible and try not to bowl to Raina; it didn't quite work out like that. Single off the first ball brought Raina on strike, it's now my job to get him off strike with a single, hit the hole with a yorker and hope it just goes for one. I was slightly to full and he hit a low full toss over the small boundaries for six, damn! An adjustment next ball and I'm just slightly to short giving him the chance to get under it, and he did, it went a long way up and with Guppy under it I though there was a chance for him to catch it; not quite, it just sailed over his head for another six. Dan and I changed the field and changed the plan as that one wasn't working, the boundaries at here in Christchurch just are not big enough to keep with the original plan. Dot ball, brilliant and then he's sliced me past 3rd man for a sweet four; not much I could do about that, Dan and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, it was a good ball and he's got it away, fair play young man!! Just a single off the last ball and there's 18 off an over that actually wasn't that bad in terms of execution, although not perfect, sometimes it happens that way. I was a reasonably happy lad walking off the park, after the explosive start India got off to, the skilled hitters they have and the small boundaries 162 was going to be a tough score to defend.
We got off to a slow, or measured, start and lost Jesse first ball from Sharma in the second over of the innings. Wickets always slow run rates down and it did exactly that! Nine runs of three overs is a slow start but that was all it took for the lads to find their timing. Fifteen of the next Sharma over and then 11 of Khan and we're back on track, looking pretty and feeling good.
All the guys from there played really well, Rossco just continued on his great form, Baz played the anchor role and batted though and with Jake coming in at the end blazing 29 off 15 balls in his comeback match we had the game won with seven balls to spare and some power hitting still in the shed; not a bad place to finish a game!
A very happy changing room, we didn't have the luxury of being able to sit around at the ground for to long as it was a pretty early start this morning, a short turn around between games and training this afternoon meant it was a pretty early night.
Back in Wellington now, it's tea time and I'm starving! The last couple of days have been huge for my blog, over 20,000 more views yesterday alone. Thanks for the support and for the sometimes 'crazy' messages left on the comments..... If you want to advertise through my blog, get in touch with my admin on: email@example.com.
I did bump into a mate at the end of the game who I hadn't seen for a while. Mikee from a pretty damn good NZ band called Autozamm, along with his mate Nick, also from Autozamm, who had been playing 'O' week in Christchurch, had changed their flights to stick around and watch this match, so when I heard they were out the back I got myself off there for a catch up. Last time I saw them they were opening for Powderfinger and Silver Chair, and of those very good bands Autozamm easily were the best on stage that night, they cleaned up. Good to see ya mate and I'm looking forward to seeing you play again soon!