Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kiwis show their rubbishness

The deep flaws in the New Zealand cricket team were finally exposed by Sri Lanka yesterday. The Lankans eased home by 81 runs, in a match in which the Black Caps were outclassed in all departments.

Suffering from two poor umpiring decisions, Sri Lanka still went on to post a formidable 289, aided by an intelligent century from Mahela Jayawardene. In response, the New Zealanders looked at sea against the impressive swing and pace bowling of Chaminda Vaas (1-25) and Lasith Malinga (1-21).

However, at two wickets down, Dilhara Fernando decided to make the game more interesting and single-handedly attempted to lose the match for Sri Lanka. Conceding 45 of his five overs (at the point when the Kiwis only had 90 on the board) Fernando was all over the place. His yips probably arose from Rudy “Harsh Bastard” Koertzen giving him two warnings for running on the pitch in his first over. That’s right. Two warnings in his first over. Nevertheless, I was starting to worry, as the Kiwis had moved ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis trajectory.

However, such is the depth of the Sri Lankans attack, Muttiah Muralitharan was brought on. Now, there are some certain lessons that come from cricketing history. Don’t bowl bouncers to Devon Malcolm, don’t rise to Shane Warne’s challenges and don’t slog Murali. Unfortunately, Jason Oram did not heed this lesson and for the fifth time on the trot against Sri Lanka, fell to the off-spinner. Murali eventually took four further wickets (in about five minutes) to pull the Lankans out of reach.

Sri Lanka really showed the importance of an all-round, quality bowling attack. Clearly, Fernando was a major liability. But there was something in the air that night. The stars were bright, Fernando. And this weakness was quickly taken off and covered up. There's no regret. If I had to do the same again. I would, my friend, Fernando.

The Kiwis, on the other hand were just as rubbish as I have always said. Bizarrely an attack consisting of one good bowler, a twirler and an army of dibbly-dobblers didn’t do the trick against world-class opposition. This team would have been annihilated by the Ozzies. I hope this episode has proven the point that New Zealand are not, and never were, “good”.

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