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Kiwis score thumping win over Ireland
Prem Panicker | April 09, 2007 23:03 IST
Last Updated: April 10, 2007 02:41 IST
New Zealand maintained their unbeaten run at the World Cup, scoring a 129-run victory over debutants Ireland in a Super Eights match in Georgetown, Guyana, on Monday.
After posting 263 for 8 from their 50 overs, they bowled out Ireland for 134 with more than 10 overs to spare.
Left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori claimed four wickets for 23 runs from 8.4 overs to hasten Ireland's defeat after Shane Bond struck twice to dismiss openers Jeremy Bray (1) and William Porterfield (11) and push Ireland on the back foot.
Earlier, opener Peter Fulton hit a patient 83 to nurse the New Zealand innings that was struggling at 118-4 at one stage, thanks to some tidy bowling by Ireland.
Brendon McCullum and James Franklin then provided the much-needed fireworks towards the finish with a 71-run partnership that lifted the Kiwis from 189-7 in the 43rd over.
New Zealand innings
It would seem that the associate nations have discovered the trick of taking on the big boys.
Since they don't have the firepower to blast them out, they have perfected the art of the slow, steady choke. Bangladesh employed the technique brilliantly against India and South Africa; at the Providence Stadium in Guyana, today, Ireland took a leaf from that same playbook after being invited to bowl first by Stephen Fleming.
At the start, it was the steady, if unspectacular, medium pace of Langford-Smith and the tall Boyd Rankin that kept the Kiwis in check; once they were done, Ireland turned to its spinners, off spinner McCallan in particular, and continued exerting the sort of pressure that saw the Kiwis, unable to face the idea that they could be checked, make a series of mistakes � on what, to compound the problem, is a batting track.
The Kiwis really have only themselves to blame � from the way they batted, it looked as though they had come out with the idea of blasting their way to a humongous score, and when the Irish bowlers � backed, and this is the other theme the associates have in common, by excellent ground fielding -- made things tough for them, they either could not, or would not, switch to Plan B and start accumulating.
Rankin is the one who normally does the early damage but today, Langford-Smith was the standout. Varying his pace, keeping his length just back of good and line tight around the off stump, the bowler concentrated on shutting out scoring opportunities, and allowed the batsmen to commit hara kiri.
Of the Kiwi batsmen, Peter Fulton was the only one who should the nous for the job. The tall opener used his reach to advantage, selected the shots he would hit and, concentrating mostly on drives, played with immense common sense. He started off like a rocket, but once the bowlers began getting a grip, settled down to bat with calm control, never seeming to be frustrated when tight bowling and fielding kept a tight rein on the run rate.
Stephen Fleming, who looked to take the attack to the opposition, was the first to go � to a rank bad ball. Rankin bowled it wide of off, on length; with the whole off side there for the shot, Fleming over-hit it, to Porterfield at point who went low, and to his right, and held well (10/11; 35/1).
Langford-Smith at the other end had looked like breaking through any minute, but the first of his minutes came in the 11th over, when Hamish Marshall went after a ball that was fullish in length and a touch wide outside off. Like Fleming, Marshall overhit the ball in his eagerness, miscued, and Eoin Morgan at cover backpedaled as the ball arced over his head, stuck his hand out at the perfect moment, and held on to a beauty (16/21; 59/2).
A clever change-down in pace by Langford-Smith did for Scott Styris. The ball was outside off, going down the channel and Styris drove at it without picking the change of pace; he hit too early, the ball got the edge through to Niall O'Brien 10/15; 83/3).
Once Langford-Smith was done with his ten overs (2/41), McCallan took over with some very clever off spin. Brian McMillan backed away from his stumps almost before the bowler had delivered; McCallan adjusted, bowled very full and very straight, and the batsman's flailing bat merely got an outside edge that picked out Trent Johnston at a very short third man (22/29; 118/4).
There was a bit of a rain interruption; when play resumed, the rains held off only long enough for Fulton's vigil to end. Again, it was McCallan, bowling straight and full; Fulton went for an ill-judged sweep, missed, took it on the front pad bang in front of middle, and the platform the opener had built for himself was squandered, just as he was getting to that point in the game where he had to change gears and lead the charge 83/110; 172/5).
The rains came down again as Fulton walked back; this time it lasted longer but apparently, wasn't enough to cool off the Kiwi fire. Out came the players and soon enough, out went Jacob Oram. The batsman with the big-hitting reputation had played an uncharacteristically quiet hand � 28 dot balls and 20 singles, without a single four � as though setting himself up for a late assault.
In the 41st over, he suddenly ran out of patience, gave off spinner Andrew White the charge, failed to get properly under a ball on fullish length on middle and off, and lofted it up for Morgan, at long on, to take another well-judged catch.
Daniel Vettori probably wasn't watching the Fulton dismissal; down he went on his knee, looking to sweep, and managed only to get a bit of glove and bit of bat onto the delivery from white that was going down leg side (5/7; 181/7); Niall O'Brien doing very well to go across, stay low, and hold.
McCullum and Franklin then batted with sense, working the ball around and running like heck to keep the board ticking without undue risk.
The 48th over, by Trent Johnston no less, undid much of the good work of earlier; the bowler drifted to leg and was clipped by Franklin to the fine leg fence, then over-pitched and was driven straight. McCullum ended the over by latching on to a short ball and pulling behind square leg, to tally 16 in the over.
In context of the game, it was expected at the death, but it was bad news for Ireland after having defended the boundaries superbly all that while � the previous four was by Fulton, in the 35th over. A Franklin whip off the pads, off Kevin O'Brien in the next over, brought up the 53 of the partnership off just 34 balls; Franklin celebrated by getting under the very next ball and hoisting it into the stands behind long on.
Once the floodgates were thrown open, the Ireland bowlers drowned. McCullum, who has the fastest half century to his credit, from earlier in the competition, took over and, in the final over of the innings, he took on Johnston, first cracking him inside out for four over extra cover, then hoisting him high into the pavilion behind long on and shattering some glass in the process. An attempt to duplicate the shot to the very next ball ended with a slice, and McCullum was caught at deep midwicket for a brilliant cameo (47/37; 260/8). McCullum had paced himself nicely, scoring exclusively in singles and twos before opening out at the very end.
With Franklin chipping in with his own cameo (34 not out off 22), the Kiwis ended up on 263/8. The final score should come as a relief for Fleming � he now has enough to ensure against an upset, and even to do his net run rate a bit of alright.
Ireland's lack of experience in bowling at the death let them down � the final five overs alone produced 59 runs, and pushed the target beyond their reach (okay, that is premature, but getting 264 against an attack led by Bond and Vettori is no picnic even for the best teams).
In passing, Ireland has learnt the art of ground fielding and catching and even of captaincy � some of the field placings were simply superb. Similar expertise in throwing would, on the day, have got them three, possibly four, clear run-outs; it was really strange to watch a team as seasoned as New Zealand call and run like tyros.
Progression: 1-50 overs
5 overs: 30/0 @ 6.00 (Fulton 20/23; Fleming 6/7
10 overs: 57/1 @ 5.70 (Fulton 27/34; Hamish Marshall 14/15)
15 overs: 73/2 @ 4.86 (Fulton 32/46; Styris 8/12)
20 overs: 94/3 @ 4.70 (Fulton 47/59; McMillan 4/14)
25 overs: 118/4 @ 4.72 (Fulton 52/72; Oram 0/2)
30 overs: 138/4 @ 4.60 (Fulton 64/90; Oram 5/14)
35 overs: 164/4 @ 4.68 (Fulton 79/103; Oram 13/31)
40 overs: 178/5 @ 4.45 (Oram 19/46; McCullum 4/8)
45 overs: 204/7 @ 4.53 (McCullum 19/22; Franklin 4/7)
50 overs: 263/8 @ 5.26 (Franklin 34/22; Bond 0/0)
To a length delivery from James Franklin, Kevin O'Brien skipped a foot out of his crease, got under the ball, extended the arms into the lofted on drive, and deposited the ball several rows back into the stands behind long on.
It was played like a young Tendulkar � lovely technique and at the end of it all, the bat at eye level, parallel to the ground and pointing, gun barrel straight, at where the ball was going.
Jeetan Patel was unceremoniously picked up from off stump and blasted into the same section of plastic chairs; when Scott Styris dropped short, O'Brien uncorked a slog-pull that gave the same chairs another pounding.
Ireland's problems with the chase were two-fold: New Zealand had one Shane Bond in its ranks, and Ireland only had one Kevin O'Brien in its lineup, where it could have used maybe three.
Bond turned it on at the start of the Ireland chase, with two swift strikes that put the batting side on the back foot and kept it there.
The first came off the last ball of his first over, and it was a quick bowler's dream � angled across the left handed Bray, the ball hit length on leg and middle, drew the batsman forward, seamed away at top speed and flicked the edge of the bat on its way through to McCullum (1/5; 5/1).
The quick then took Porterfield out with a searing bouncer at top pace. The batsman shaped to pull but was beaten for pace and height, all he could do was an impromptu top edge that stayed up long enough for Styris to run back from slip and hold (11/22; 22/2).
Jacob Oram, who has made a habit of taking a wicket or two early in his spell, lived up to form when, in the 13th over, his nagging line down the corridor finally got Eoin Morgan snicking an attempted cut to the keeper (5/36; 35/3).
That brought the two O'Briens together, and while Kevin batted with carefree abandon and looked as if he could give the Kiwis a few thoughts, brother Niall batted in a fashion that made you want to examine his contract to see if there was some clause in there about getting bonuses for occupying the crease.
Jokes aside, Niall O'Brien's painful crawl actually put a crimp in his brother's breeziness, while pushing the asking rate further out of reach with every passing over. He then capped it by getting his brother run out, in the 29th over � Niall pushed out on the off, called his brother for the run, then spotted Hamish Marshall swooping on the ball and scampered back into his crease, leaving his brother stranded (49/45; 110/4). Kevin O'Brien had played a very impressive hand, showing enough skill to pick the right ball and hit with a flourish, while knocking off the singles in between to keep things moving.
Much would have been forgiven had Niall then taken on the onus of scoring � but his first foray into unbridled aggression, a slow sweep at Jeetan Patel, was mishit down the throat of deep midwicket (30/75; 125/5).
Niall O'Brien had 54 dot balls to just 16 singles, and that inability to turn the strike over took the wind out of Ireland's sails. His departure cued a procession: Niall fell in the 33rd, and then Vettori and Patel took a wicket in each of the succeeding overs � Andrew White to Vettori in the 34th, Trent Johnston to Patel in the 35th, Peter Gillespie to Vettori in the 36th.
Everyone got so used to the procession that when Patel failed to strike in the 37th, you sat up and took notice.
All wickets followed a pattern � the two spinners bowled very full, very tight on wicket to wicket lines, the batsmen prodded down the wrong line and were nailed to varying degrees of certitude.
Vettori, in recent times, has been cribbing that umpires weren't giving him leg before decisions. Having got two from the normally reluctant Steve Bucknor himself, Vettori got bored, and in 38th over, got rid of McCallan with a yorker pushed through from his good height at pace.
Rankin Boyd came out, Vettori fired another quick, full one down the length of the pitch, the tall Boyd hardly had time to bend down before the ball crashed into his pads, and he was gone first ball, to give New Zealand a 129-run victory.
Ireland had enough in the tank to give the Kiwis a few problems with the ball, but when it came to batting, there was none barring Kevin O'Brien who shaped like he belonged at this level. Against such a team, the Kiwi machine was remorseless � and that was that, another day, another win, two more points and the semifinal berth secure.
Progression: Overs 1-35
5 overs: 14/1 @ 2.80 (Morgan 2/13; Porterfield 7/14), Required rate 5.55 (250 from 45)
10 movers: 30/2 @ 2.72 (Morgan 5/32; Niall O'Brien 7/9); Required rate 5.85 (234 from 40)
15 overs: 43/3 @ 2.86 (Kevin O'Brien 7/6; Niall O'Brien 3/22); Required rate 6.31 (221 from 35)
20 overs: 68/3 @ 3.40 (Kevin O'Brien 22/21; Niall O'Brien 11/37); Required rate 6.53 (196 from 30)
25 overs: 89/3 @ 3.56 (Kevin O'Brien 36/37; Niall O'Brien 18/51); Required rate 7.00 (175 from 25)
30 overs: 116/4 @ 3.86 (Niall O'Brien 27/71; Trent Johnston 1/2); Required rate 7.80 (116/4)
35 overs: 133/7 @ 3.80 (McCallan 0/2; Gillespie 2/3); Required rate 8.73 (131 in 15 overs)
The Cup: The Complete Coverage
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