Let the good vibes of some International T20 buzz wash over you, diluting the shenanigans of the ODI series vs India and filling you with hope of positive progress for Aotearoa's Blackcaps. In winning the third T20I, the Blackcaps clinched the T20I series and apart from the entertainment, the hype etc, who cares?
Colin Munro smacked 72 off 40 balls, although that's not going to help him a whole lot in terms of trying to reclaim his ODI opening spot. Colin de Grandhomme came out swinging, although I'm not overly convinced that he's going to continue that against Bangladesh. Take your pick from the bowling performances and know that there's not a much correlation between this and their ODI craft.
Again, as far as enjoying some quality cricket goes, chur chur. We're in an enticing time though, enticing in the sense that it's very easy, perhaps lazy to connect the dots between T20I and ODI cricket to try solve the difficult ODI World Cup conundrum. This Blackcaps ODI conundrum is definitely conundrum with various positions up for grabs, so chucking a T20I series between two ODI series' makes it convenient to come to those ODI conclusions.
The funkiest thing about this T20I series, was Tim Seifert finishing as the leading run-scorer and Daryl Mitchell was the best bowler. Seifert had 139 runs @ 46.33avg/173.75sr and Mitchell was tied with Mitchell Santner on 4 wickets, yet Mitchell took his in just 6.2ov to give him an average of 13.75 vs Santner's 9ov @ 18avg.
Aotearoa has this wave of younger talent simmering beneath the surface, a pool of depth that is the deepest I've ever seen it and for the Northern Districts Knights duo (Seifert/Mitchell) to perform as they did throughout this series is further confirmation of this. Don't view this as a coincidence, given that there was a heavy investment in the 'A' tour to United Arab Emirates and further A series in Aotearoa last spring through early summer.
All of which makes you wonder why NZC fluffed around for so long, not making such investments in A cricket. The proof is in the pudding and while not all the best Super Smash performers were involved in A cricket, the leading run-scorers/wicket-takers are mostly up and coming prospects...
*Kyle Jamieson: 22w @ 12.77avg/7.33rpo.
Mitchell McClenaghan: 15w @ 16.26avg/8.13rpo.
*Blair Tickner: 15w @ 16.26avg/8.13rpo.
Christi Viljoen: 13w @ 16.30avg/8.83rpo.
*Scott Kuggeleijn: 13w @ 18.30avg/8.60rpo.
*Jacob Duffy: 13w @ 19.69avg/7.75rpo
*Devon Conway: 363 runs @ 45.37avg/144.04sr.
*Daryl Mitchell: 318 runs @ 35.33avg/140.08sr.
*Tom Bruce: 308 runs @ 44avg/161.25sr.
*Chad Bowes: 276 runs @ 27.60avg/140.10sr.
*Michael Bracewell: 266 runs @ 29.55avg/178.52sr.
Dean Brownlie: 249 runs @ 35.57avg/151.82sr.
There is one bloke though, who is enjoying a glorious patch of form across all formats and basically since he sussed out his eyes, Ross Taylor has gone to a nek level. In Test and ODI cricket, this is been more of a case of Taylor continuing the trajectory of his career and like most batsmen, Taylor has improved with age. In T20 cricket, or more specifically T20I, Taylor has exploded to become a key figure in the middle order after effectively been fucked over by the previous regime.
Common sense prevailed and Taylor was ushered back into the Blackcaps T20I group, after the Niche Cache questioned his absence. Now Taylor is the finisher, where his attacking instincts that are so prevelent in ODI and Test cricket - Taylor is nearly always looking to assert himself in the first few balls of those formats - and experience enable him to control the final stages of the innings.
Against India, Taylor only scored 79 runs, however they came @ 39.50avg/138.59sr. In the lone T20I vs Sri Lanka prior to India's arrival, Taylor absorbed the situation and instead of flirting with Eden Park's small boundaries, Taylor anchored the innings to score 33 off 37 with just three boundaries (2 fours, 1 six). Aotearoa won that T20I by 35 runs, with their first innings total boosted by the whack whacks of Doug Bracewell, Scott Kuggeleijn and Tim Southee (all of whom had strike-rates over 160); a late innings flourish set up by Taylor's craft in the middle stages.
Since the start of 2018, Taylor has taken his T20I career average from 25.88 to 37.87. Averaging 25 in T20 ain't even that bad, as long as it comes with a strike-rate over 120 and while Cricinfo doesn't have a strike-rate breakdown for that period, Taylor's career strike-rate is 121.08 in T20I. I'm comfortable in making the assumption that Taylor's strike-rate since the start of 2018 rises in conjunction with his average and even if it didn't, to have Taylor averaging 37 with a strike-rate around 120ish is lovely.
For what it's worth, in domestic/franchise T20 cricket, Taylor averages 31.57/132.76sr. Combine all these stats together and we're left with Taylor being a freak across all three formats, at the highest level. When we think about Aotearoa's greatest batsmen, the ability of Taylor to align his run-scorer with the different roles and requirements of the three formats has to be a factor.
May the reign of King Rossco continue.
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Peace and love 27.