A Nichey Niche Convo - After The Black Caps vs Australia

Dizzy Doc - Wildcard, I don't beat around the bush mate - I'm currently still admiring the captaincy of B-Mac. That's my main focus the morning after, obviously a lot of crazy shit happened but for me, bringing on Daniel Vettori changed the course of the game and then little stuff like having two catching covers as well. Some may perceive his captaincy as reckless, but it's far from it. Some how he walks that tight rope of aggressive and reckless captaincy, and the only damage he's got from walking that tight rope is a bung arm.

Wildcard - Definitely not reckless. Yeah, he was hyper aggressive in both his field placements and his bowling options. Here against one of the most quality opposition we'll face, we saw a clear divide between our big three and the rest. Southee, Boult and Vettori are a trident of wicket taking and run-preventing (Southee balked on the latter but still supplied the former), and McCullum clearly knew what's what, cycling exclusively between those three for the first 26 overs. Nobody else got a look in until they were 9 wickets down. Who else would do that? Most captains would be saving guys for the death overs, but not McCullum. His strategy is always 'let's not worry about later, let's win it now'. Batting or bowling. And that wreaked havoc mentally on the Aussies who are so used to being the aggressors.

As for that bung arm, an iPhone-sized welt on that thing and he's still slamming sixes. And not cheeky flicks over the keeper either, but full-on power shots down the ground. That's unbelievable.

DD - That sets up a re-match perfectly later in the World Cup - I'm not sure the Aussies will let us be the aggressors again. They'll do something, possibly just blatantly being dickheads to gain that little edge and it'll be interesting to see how we respond.

Adam Milne hardly made the batsmen play with his little stint and while he conceded next to no runs, that gap in class was clear. If he can tighten that up and just target off stick with his pace, then we'll be bordering on a three pronged attack. But I'm happy relying on Vettori, holy shit he was quality. 

Personally, I reckon it's the best I've seen him. He's fit, he's got a great team and skipper around him and he's got so many more options instead of just bowling 10 quiet overs. He can attack!

I don't think there's any chance of B-Mac taking a game off either...

WC - It upsets me a little that he'll probably retire after the World Cup, it'd be nice if he stuck around for England in May, but hey Dan Vettori can do what he wants, he's earned it. The thing with Vettori's wickets is that he rarely beats a batsman with one of those unplayable balls. He gets you out with the balls leading up to the wicket as much as anything, grinding you down, and then you snap and you look like an idiot. A la Shane Watson. Vettori gets you out and you're killing yourself for your own mistakes, but he forced them from you.

Nope, B-Mac's gonna be right back in there against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, there's not even a hint of rotation or playing it safe with this side. I do worry, though, that if we get that rematch maybe we've shown our hand already?

DD - Yeah I think that the fact that Vettori is so awesome will mean that he won't stand in the way of the future, which is a bit of a bummer but what can ya do?

Bang on about the way he gets wickets there sir, same with Steve Smith who couldn't resist letting his bat float outside off stump ... RONCHI KONG.

We've shown our hand in every game, there's no more secrets about the Black Caps. Which may be a worry, yeah but by the time the knockout cricket rolls around it's going to be the same for every team. We know pretty much exactly how the Black Caps go about their business but we haven't exactly seen a complete performance ... maybe against the English battlers. Next time we play Australia or anyone in a big game, they might figure our B-Mac but Ross Taylor might get runs or Guppy, or Elliot or Anderson and Ronchi might save the day, oh and that Prince Williamson guy. So we definitely haven't seen the best of the Black Caps, which is odd and I think is being overlooked.

WC - But what's the future? If he thinks that Ish Sodhi or Mark Craig can step up in ODIs, then that's one thing. But the clear deputy now is Nathan McCullum, who's nearly as old as Vettori! Please stay, Danny Boy...

Thanks, Doc. That makes me feel better. The fact that we have three bowlers that frighten opponents, and at least three batsmen who do the same (waiting on a big 'un from Rossco, I have faith) means that they can take turns stepping up to the plate. One thing that we haven't shown yet, however, is a big run chase. Which used to be our bread and butter. And we've only once batted first (and set 300+). Hopefully we're a little more well-rounded than people still realise, since our two big statements came from our opening bowlers skittling folks.

Serious question: Can you think of a more memorable shot in the history of NZ cricket - one single shot - than Prince Kane's majestic game-winning six?

DD - Yeah I was meaning in terms of Test cricket ... but is it worth Vettori ignore all the post career opportunities to continue to play a few ODI's? Nah, especially as he's almost locked in to coach the Brisbane Heat in next year's Big Bash League.

Well at the moment B-Mac's just putting the team on his back. He's getting help here and there, but we'll need some other lads to step up at some stage . As B-Mac's legend grows, Kane's legend continues to grow, Rossco's not really doing a whole lot for his legend/legacy. Any big run chase will have to include Taylor getting runs because he can score quickly with ease through the middle overs, here's hoping.

No. With the way the Aussies were bowling, I wasn't keen on Boult facing too many deliveries so you got the feeling that a boundary, preferably a six was needed asap. So he whacks one over the top, for six. Amazing.

WC - Oh, well test cricket I think we've already seen the last of him. Maybe he goes to England for a farewell, who knows. The guy's hardly gonna be struggling for work, even if the Big Bash & IPL things fall through, he's still got his librarian credentials to fall back on.

Yeah, Taylor will be fine, there are only so many runs to be scored each game, his turn will come. He's done it too many times before.

By Australia, you mean Mitchell Starc? He was straight lightning. Terrifying. Buuuut, there were only two balls in the entire game (from once Vettori came on to bowl, anyway) where I felt like Oz were on top. And they were the two that Boult carefully survived. I was confident Kane could see us through if he got back on strike, we just had to survive that long. We did, but now there's a national shortage of fingernails. God, that was close. There's nothing quite like a close, low-scoring One Day-er. 350+ innings are great in their own way, but when runs become hard to find, when fast bowlers get on top and tailenders are struggling to hang in there... that's One Day cricket at its best.

DD - For me, the damage done by the Australian attack shows that they're equally as dangerous as us, if not better.

All the ups and downs are thanks to ODI cricket. T20 is too short for that narrative while Test cricket is where you expect things to change a lot, but ODI cricket provides enough time for things to switch up, momentum to shift and it's your job as an international cricketer to ride those waves.

When Starc's ripping in, you've got to endure which many of our batsmen didn't do. Which kind of made me sad about Anderson's effort because there's no need to finish it asap when you've got the world's best bowlers charging in, he reverted to type which was a bummer.

What's your final verdict on the game, with the World Cup in mind?

WC - World Cup? Oh, that's right, this was a World Cup game. Umm, first of all I do wanna give Anderson some credit for at least battling in there, even if he was batting kinda terribly. He showed more guts than most of them, to be honest. Tim Southee getting skinned alive by the most obvious yorker of all time was disappointing, even if it was a rapid, in-swinging brute of a ball. 

As for the game, it was a shame we didn't make a grand statement with an 8/9 wicket win, but we got a classic thriller out of it, which is better in the long-term. Just wait 'til this game gets on the rain delay rotation, it'll happen soon. Still, we won. We won the game, we got the points and even though I said before hand that the result wasn't a big deal, I've changed my mind. Look at the other group. India and South Africa are gonna cruise, the West Indies will probably get third unless they bottle another one. So first place for us will probably mean a struggling Pakistan team that we just eased by twice in a row, or Ireland/Zimbabwe. Yes please.

DD - Lol, I heard an English commentator, I think it might have been Bumble talking up Southee's batting the other day. His only example was that Test innings against England, so much water has gone under the bridge since then and the fact that Adam Milne batted ahead of him says a lot.

There we go, they just had to get that W. 

B-Mac just blew up my pager, some peptides are needed. G2g, brb, ttyl.

WC - Talk to ya soon Doc. Just know that the most important man in New Zealand has a sore arm and it's your responsibility now to make sure that thing heals with some chemical assistance. No pressure, but we kinda need him. (Also, who still uses a pager?)