That was fun wasn't it? A trio of ODI's vs India and a trio of rather emphatic losses for Aotearoa's Blackcaps, reminding us all of how easy it is for the Blackcaps to go from bullies to being bullied. Yet, I'm not quite all in on those vibes as I still feel rather positive about this series so far and I guess I'm caught between re-living the glorious Lesson days and this rather strange optimistic outlook.
The Lesson days were headlined by bullying teams Aotearoa should bully, often in our own backyard and then not quite being good enough to win in adverse scenarios; either against tough opposition or outside Aotearoa. Frustrating, super frustrating because we could see that there were avenues to the Blackcaps being better, avenues that could have been exploited.
In losing three times to India, thus losing the series already, it does feel a bit different. Overall, it feels like cricket, or how in cricket there are patches of bad form that can't be explained and if we blow that up to a team level, that's kinda where I sit. On top of that we have a whole lot of different combinations being trialed, a rather incredible Indian team and general weird shit going down.
Weird shit like Kane Williamson being caught by Hardik Pandya, in delightful fashion. Williamson faced 48 balls for his 28, all the graft was done and then a moment of magic (just like MS Dhoni stumping Ross Taylor previously). Remember that Williamson chopped on in game two and against India, you don't really want such rotten cricket luck striking your best batsman.
Weird shit like two of the most economical bowlers in the first two games then being smacked around in last night's game. Doug Bracewell went for 8.16rpo and Ish Sodhi 7.57rpo, after conceding less than 6rpo in all their prior innings.
Things just aren't going the Blackcaps way right now. Of course India are a major factor in that, however I'm not going to be getting overly dramatic as we continue to learn and grown with the World Cup in mind. Just as we shouldn't be overly dramatic when a player has a bad series, we shouldn't too dramatic when things are clearly against the kiwis.
Juxtaposed against that idea, we have the fact that India's seamers have been equally as important as their spinners and the Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami combo again popped the lid off the Blackcaps batting line up. I've got Martin Guptill in the poor form bucket and after Kumar had him caught-behind fror 13, Guppy has 33 runs in 33inns.
Poor form and a few technical issues that he needs to suss out; India don't fuck around with their research and bowling plans. I'd rather go through this now with Guptill, iron out these wrinkles and then hopefully do the run-scoring thing at the World Cup.
As for Colin Munro...
I wrote this back, almost exactly a year ago regarding Munro's style and role in the Blackcaps ODI team. Munro will fail more often than he goes alright, a ratio that decreases against good bowling attackings with good plans. Whether you think Munro should be in the team, or not, as long as he is in the team, we as cricket plebs need to accept that he's not going to do a whole lot other than be reckless.
Munro has the same amount of runs as Henry Nicholls in the series. Nicholl managed 6 off 8 before being caught-behind and has been caught in all 3inns so far. He's got a niggly role in the middle order, which isn't quite as easy vs India as it was vs Sri Lanka when everything was a box of fluffies. I'm eager to see how Nicholls responds, in these two ODI's coming up and then vs Bangladesh.
Thankfully, Ross Taylor (93 off 106) and Tom Latham (51 off 64) put some mana in the Blackcaps performance batting first. They scored the bulk of the Blackcaps total of 243, which could have been a solid target if the kiwis could bring in someone like Pandya to step up to the crease, with weird drama behind him and in breaking his first sweat in Aotearoa bowl 10ov for 4.50rpo with 2w. We've seen the more typical India in this series with the spinners and all those lame stereotypes, in Pandya's effort though we had a clear example of how well-rounded India is.
As for the Blackcaps bowling, they again lacked any slither of ruthlessness. Talk about the batting all you want, the same must go for a bowling unit that has only taken 9 of a possible 30 wickets ... in Aotearoa. India has taken 30 of 30 wickets and their hosts haven't even come close to matching that.
Trent Boult needs a homie, a trustworthy homie with whom he can snare wickets and build pressure. Boult took 2w @ 4rpo in his 10ov, to give him 4w @ 4.90rpo overall and in general terms, his class has been evident. General, or relative; this hasn't been the amazing Boult we know and love, but he's been the best of a mediocre bunch.
After all of this, I'm excited yet again. Excited to see what coach Gaz has in store for us in terms of team selection and maybe even some hard truths to a few lads/the team. The series is over, but were we really that concerned with this series' result? I tended to lean towards the bigger picture and while nothing will erase the grand demolition from the first three games, a bit of ticker and confidence-building runs and wickets would be lovely.
Hit an ad to support the Blackcaps yarns.
I will also be dropping post-game Blackcaps videos on Patreon for our beautiful Patrons. Jump over to Patreon and support the Niche Cache, to get plenty of bonus content from the lads.
Peace and love 27.