The Blackcaps were rolled by Sri Lanka in a shocker this afternoon, but despite what happened in Hamilton today cricket fans need to keep a few things in mind.
Brendon McCullum continued his amazing run of form with the bat, smashing 117 and in the process set the Blackcaps up for a mammoth score in perfect batting conditions at Hamilton’s Seddon Park.
But as many have feared, the vulnerability of the Blackcaps middle order showed itself as the rest of the batsmen around McCullum came and went as soon as most fans could blink an eye.
A dull and boring 34 by the returning Ross Taylor was the only other shot a Blackcaps batsmen fired.
Taylor’s style is to get out of the blocks slow, feel the ball on the bat a bit, and then go hard late in his innings but one can’t help but feel that come World Cup time more aggression may need to be shown, especially if the Blackcaps find themselves with the platform already set and Taylor still at the crease as was the case today.
The rest of the side simply collapsed at Seddon Park where conditions were absolutely perfect for batting.
Four run-outs, three of which occurred in the space of ten balls, and a stumping made for some of the worst reading this Blackcaps ODI batting squad has put to press in several months.
A big surprise today saw Daniel Vettori batting at number five.
Surely Craig McMillan as batting coach placed Vettori there for no other reason than to give the spinner time at the crease, something Vettori has seen very little of in any cricket recently. But it didn’t work, Vettori luckily escaped an LBW decision that looked out in replays only to be run out on moments later.
Vettori and five doesn’t work. It won’t happen again.
Dangerous batsman and one of the best in the team form wise Luke Ronchi was run out without even facing a ball.
Martin Guptill also failed to get a decent score today.
After stroking two good shots to the boundary and showing some good positive intent, he held out in the field trying to hit the ball over the fielder riding the inner circle. Good intent but a soft dismissal and Guptill now heads into the next game under more pressure.
Tom Latham just pushed the ball around for a few singles before getting out, his first go at the crucial number three position failed today.
Perhaps it is worth giving him another go in that position as Williamson is still out for a couple more games.
The Blackcaps collapsing like they did and in the fashion that they did today made a real mockery of Brendon McCullum’s innings, and as the captain of the side, he more than anyone should be feeling quite disappointed this evening.
Matt Henry also bowled, out of the World Cup squad but still proving himself again but this time not only by taking wickets with the ball but also pitching in some runs with terrific stroke play using the bat.
It was a shocker today, but you’d rather it happened now than in the World Cup next month.