Domestic Cricket Daily: Super Smash Update and Blackcaps T20 Battlers

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This was nothing more than a coincidence, but to have the Blackcaps T20 squad named to face India around the same time as the 2020 World T20 tournament's draw was unleashed, was a glorious coincidence. Daryl Mitchell earned a call up to the Aotearoa T20 gang and Blair Tickner got a minor promotion, coming into the group for the third game while Lockie Ferguson drops out after two games.

Now is precisely the time you want to be sliding into the Blackcaps T20 mix, given that there is now some genuine context set in stone around international T20 cricket. We've got a cricket World Cup this year, followed by World T20 (men and women) next year with the men's tournament to get underway in late October 2020.

Along with Mitchell getting a well-deserved Blackcaps nod (Tickner's on game promotion isn't quite as substantial), there are other intricacies in the Blackcaps T20 squad to face India. These don't concern me a whole lot though, even with the World T20 context as the absence of Trent Boult and to a lesser extent Tim Southee can largely be put down to rest. Sure, there may be some T20-specific analysis to their work, yet we are in the middle of a kiwi summer with the World Cup looming.

This is obviously not Aotearoa’s Daryl Mitchell, but kinda funny for you hip hop nutters:

Same goes for Kane Williamson's absence from the T20 vs Sri lanka. He's now back in for Henry Nicholls who drops out and at that medium-upper level of Blackcaps, their inclusion or absence in T20 squads isn't all that interesting. For those coming into the mix, like Mitchell, Tickner, Scott Kuggeleijn and Tim Seifert, selections take on a slightly more funkier meaning.

For Mitchell, this is a great chance to take his consistently strong work from domestic cricket to international cricket. Like with most of these lads, it's important to note that they perform strongly in all three formats at domestic level and aren't just Super Smash wonders; whether it be Kuggeleijn and Seifert dominating Plunket Shield at various stages, or Mitchell being top-shelf Ford Trophy contributor.

Two of the four bowlers with 12+ Super Smash wickets are in this Blackcaps T20 squad and as I've highlighted previously, it's great to have younger folk at the top of the runs/wickets rankings. Kuggeleijn is 3rd in wickets with 12w @ 16.91avg/8.22rpo and Tickner is 4th with 12w @ 18.25avg/8.42rpo, while Kyle Jamieson leads all wicket-takers with 15w @ 15.73avg/7.61rpo.

Who is 2nd? Mitchell McClenaghan, who has the same amount of wickets as Kuggeleijn and Tickner but from just 5inns compared to their 7inns. McClenaghan has 12w @ 11.83avg/7.74rpo and with a World T20 on the horizon, don't sleep on McClenaghan making more waves if he can find further success in T20 tournaments around the world.

As for the batsmen, all six batsmen who have 200+ runs fall into my 'prospect' basket and that's a delightful feeling. Will Young is 6th, Cole McConchie 5th and Michael Bracewell 4th; all average over 30 with strike-rates over 130 in the Super Smash.

Mitchell is 3rd, while also taking 7w @ 16.60avg/7.01rpo and often bowling in key times for Northern Districts Knights. With 281 runs @ 35.12av/141.20sr, Mitchell sits behind Tom Bruce in 2nd (291r @ 58.20avg/163.48sr) and Devon Conway who is the only bloke with 300+ runs (313r @ 52.16avg/141.62sr).

Given Bruce has featured as a Blackcaps T20 slugger previously, one would assume that he'd be in strong contention now that he's having a great Super Smash. Bruce dabbles in spin, although there's definitely a lean towards more 'capable' all-rounders evident in the selection of Mitchell. Working against Bruce in this specific squad selection is the number of all-rounders and also the presence of Williamson and Ross Taylor as the pillars of the batting line up.

I just want to highlight the absences of Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips, who appear to have been overtaken in this fringe Blackcaps pecking order. Chapman was the darling of domestic cricket last summer and that manifested into a Blackcaps promotion, while Phillips has been a low key steady presence in the T20 group.

Neither is in this T20 squad though. Phillips has 150runs @ 25avg/132.74sr in the Super Smash and that's good enough for 14th in runs, while Chapman is a complete non-factor at this point with 96 runs @ 24avg/105.49sr to be ranked 24th.

Another funky note is that George Worker's got 86 runs from 7inns, averaging 12.28/121.12sr. With all sorts of noise around the Blackcaps ODI opening duo, Worker isn't keeping his name in the spotlight via Super Smash dominance and the timing of his rather drastic drop in production couldn't be worse.

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Peace and love 27.