Cricket World Cup Diary Day 7
Alright. Breathe. In. And out. A couple more. In. And out. In. And out.
Well, phew. That was close. Closer than it ever should’ve been if we’re honest. There was some good, there was some bad, there was some unnecessary. But, let’s take a step back, take the emotion out of it for a minute, with the two-wicket win over Bangladesh the Black Caps are two from two and on top of the Cricket World Cup standings.
What else is good? Matt Henry’s bowling. Again. Henry with four wickets at The Oval, going with his two against Sri Lanka and now either a great option to open, or a great backup for Southee, whatever option they go with.
Mitchell Santner, also good. Batting and bowling. First with the ball - figures of one for 41 off 10. Keeping the run flow down and not letting Bangladesh build any momentum. Good. Then with the bat. 17 runs, it seems small, but it could be the most important 17 runs of his career.
He looked calm, assured and played good, thought out strokes to get New Zealand home. He was exactly what they needed.
Also good, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson (apart from their running between the wickets, which we’ll get to in the ‘bad’ category. Both looked excellent when on strike, playing the shots we have become accustomed to and looking so confident in the middle.
When they were deep into their 105-run third-wicket stand everything seemed right in the world and the Black Caps looked to be cruising to what should’ve been a comfortable victory.
There was also some good from Martin Guptill and Colin Munro in at the top of the order, but there was also some bad.
The shots of Guptill, Munro, Williamson, Latham, Neesham, de Grandhomme and Henry were all bad. The latter four all when New Zealand just needed to be steady and steer themselves home. The others probably excusable lapses of concentration.
Also bad, the aforementioned running between the wickets between Williamson and Taylor. To be frank, Williamson should’ve been two metres short but a blunder of what’s proven to be fairly epic proportions from Mushfiqur saved the Black Caps from what would’ve been an incredibly rocky situation.
It was certainly a wild ride and, from the range of emotions on social media, will leave a few people frazzled at work today.
But let’s look at the broader picture here. New Zealand is on top of the ladder and now has a good platform to launch from for the remainder of the tournament. They next play Afghanistan early on Sunday morning (NZT) and should easily be three from three. Yes, it gets harder from there, but, in the end it doesn’t really matter how you win, as long as you win.
Bangladesh is a good team, a much better team than most give them credit for. They are a potential banana skin that could tip some teams up at this tournament. The Black Caps have navigated that and that can only be good. Williamson and Taylor are in decent enough form with the bat, Henry and Santner with the ball.
As they always say, “there’s always something to work on.” That couldn’t be more true for this team. But it’s also true that they will contend at this tournament. We’ll have a fair idea in a week’s time of just how much they will contend after they’ve played India.
But, for now, you can exhale.
In. And out. In. And out.
At least you aren’t a Proteas fan.