England v New Zealand: 1st ODI review

In truth, not many of the forecasts or expectations for this opening match of the series included the possibility of England battering New Zealand completely, and once again, the potential for going completely over the top on the basis of a single result in the mainstream media is more than a distinct possibility.  Yet there is also nothing wrong with enjoying an unexpected success, particularly when it is done with such style.

A single match is no basis to proclaim the brightness of the future, we have seen plenty of false dawns before, yet as an expression of intent (providing it doesn’t prove to be an outlier), this one does rather startle and grab the attention.  A 210 run margin of victory is the kind of thing that happens to England, not the other way around.

No question that the stars of the show were Root, Buttler and Rashid.  All three batted beautifully at different points of the innings, showing aggressive intent, excellent shot selection and perhaps most importantly a complete lack of fear of getting out.  It’s something England supporters have cried out for for years, the complete antithesis to the safety first approach in a form of cricket that rewards those prepared to back their own ability.

And therein lies the problem.  Despite it being abundantly obvious that this was the way to go, England persisted for years with their conservative, insular approach of trying to get to around a par score that the data confirmed would give them a decent chance of victory.  It’s not a cynical view of how they did it, Graeme Swann confirmed that this was how it was done.  Above all else, this performance is an excoriating verdict of England in One Day Cricket for many years.  The whole World Cup debacle actually looks worse after today than it even did at the time, not because England succeeded today and failed then, but because they didn’t even try then.

Of course, it is better late than never, and if this is indeed the new England, then we will have a side who may or may not succeed, but who won’t die wondering – and that would be a significant step forward.  At 202-6 there is absolutely no chance that the old England would have carried on attacking, there would have been an aim of around 300 if possible and a view that it was then “competitive”.  The point here is that Buttler and Rashid could have perished in pursuit of their aim of a high target, and England would then likely have fallen well short of 300, but even then it is still exactly the right way to go.  It remains to be seen if it is seen that way when it goes wrong, as most assuredly it will at some point.  Mike Atherton – who could defend himself by saying it was a legitimate question – asked that very point, only to be swiftly put down by Adil Rashid in response, quite rightly.  There lies the test.  England will be bowled out from promising positions in some matches adopting this approach, and they must be granted the latitude for that when it happens.

It’s a single match, and a single win.  But making over 400 and the way in which they did so is a marker for a style of cricket that the rest of the cricketing world adopted some time ago.  New Zealand won’t change, it remains to be seen if England do. Let’s hope not.



48 thoughts on “England v New Zealand: 1st ODI review

  1. Arron Wright Jun 9, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    Nice to see you, and to hear Michael Vaughan, use “style” instead of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Marketing Division’s infernal and ubiquitous “brand” of cricket.


      • Arron Wright Jun 10, 2015 / 6:38 am

        I didn’t think so! James Morgan seems to have deliberately avoided the b-word today as well…


  2. man in a barrel Jun 9, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Thanks for a great post that expresses my views exactly. The sky team were into hyperbolic mode. One match…. Where everything worked out… Against a 3rd choice team… Let’s not get carried away


  3. Burly Jun 9, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    David Hopps immediately started making bitter comments about Yorkshire and claimed it was a travesty that Billings got the nod ahead of Bairstow. FFS, our media don’t help themselves at all.


    • ArushaTZ Jun 9, 2015 / 11:22 pm

      That is genuinely retarded. I’m a Yorkshireman, but Billings would be one of my first picks.

      He scored 458 runs in 7 innings at a strike rate of 154 in last season’s one-day cup. He’s dynamite when he gets going.

      So what if Bairstow has scored Championship runs this season? This is one-day cricket.


    • simonk133 Jun 10, 2015 / 6:23 am

      Our cricket media do – literally across the board – have issues with talking up players who are their mates, or who they spotted early, or are from a favoured county. I love Dobell as a journalist, for example, but he’s never going to be too rude about Trott or Moeen.

      There is of course a difference between having the odd blind spot and being so matey with all involved that (cont p94)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. volkerelle Jun 9, 2015 / 9:03 pm

    Adil Rashid is not “unselectable” after all?


    • metatone Jun 9, 2015 / 9:38 pm

      At least we might be spared the “needs to bowl faster” refrain…


  5. metatone Jun 9, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    Worth noting (as I seem to end up doing rather often when England win) that the opposition were down 1 front-line bowler. One can imagine that it would have been a tougher match with Southee joining Boult in the game.

    So certainly reason not to get over-excited.

    On the other hand… 400 – wow – impressive.


    • metatone Jun 9, 2015 / 9:44 pm

      One good thing is that we got to 400 even though certain batsmen (Roy, Hales) didn’t come to the party. What’s great about that is that we’re not completely reliant on Root & Buttler – there’s potential to get good scores even if they have a bad day.

      Rashid’s solid batting was good news too. Also the signs of revival of Finn…

      We’re still probably in search of 2 bowlers though. I love Plunkett at Yorkshire, but he’s been much more of a 4-day bowler in the last couple of years… and Jordan might become the bowler we need, but he isn’t it right now.


    • SimonH Jun 10, 2015 / 8:31 am

      It’s worth noting NZ had only one (Boult) of their WC first choice bowling attach playing – one was rested (Southee), two are injured (Milne and Anderson) and one has retired (Vettori). Finding an ODI spinner was always going to be NZ’s greatest problem post-WC (maybe they should try Ish Sodhi?). Having said that Henry and McClenaghan are good ODI bowlers so this wasn’t a weak attack by any means.

      It’ll be interesting to see what NZ say about their performance in the next day or two. Were they complacent? Possibly. Unfocused? Possibly – it can be difficult for a team to get itself up immediately after a big Test win. Taken aback by England’s aggression? Almost certainly. Missing at least five chances in the field (four catches – three by Ross Taylor – and a run out) could be lack of focus but could also be scrambled brains.

      On England, let’s see more matches before drawing conclusions. I’d note that four of the five main contributors (Root, Morgan, Buttler, Finn) are already established ODI players so, Rashid excepted, it wasn’t so much a victory for the new personnel. I’d also note that in addition to many BTL crying out for Rashid to be given a chance many had called for Morgan and Buttler to bat higher in the order. The latter in particular had been a victim of England’s weakness for tough-sounding labels (‘the finisher’) masking ultra-conservative thinking (wicket-keepers always bat at No.7).

      Finally, England did win the first ODI last year (81 runs against SL). We know what happened subsequently. This one feels based on firmer foundations. How much so we’ll see. At least England look to be now playing the same game as everyone else – and the lack of any throttling back at times in the batting suggested the “if we’re 120-3 after 28 overs 78.42% of teams win from here” approach has gone in the dustbin of history. If this series alone accomplishes that it’ll have been worth it.


      • metatone Jun 10, 2015 / 10:29 am

        Largely agree that this victory was much more about approach and attitude than changes in selection. Although, selecting players like Hales, Roy and Billings was probably an important signal about what approach and attitude was going to be rewarded.

        In a way it’s sad, because I can imagine that Bell might really thrive in this kind of team environment – imagine his quality allied to a better mindset…

        An irony of course is that as well as Rashid batted, I can’t honestly say that Ali would not have done just as well. The danger of this swallow is that really the bowling was never under pressure – and so we may be in for a rude shock when it is.

        The first 3 games against SL last year were blighted by the weather. One of the signs for hope here is that we played well on a batting pitch. We went for a competitive score, rather than settling for about 300 and declaring it “competitive.” Part of that as well was continuing to attack in situations where “Old England” would have “settled in to retrench” and effectively wasted the overs. Again, it’s about attitude and adaptation. There are pitches (we may see some yet in this series) where the bowling has the upper hand and then focussing on batting out the 50 overs can get you to a better total than otherwise. But I liked the recognition from players like Rashid in particular that even at 200-6, blocking wasn’t the strategy and indeed, relying on Jos wasn’t the strategy either. Indeed, part of what I loathed about “Old England” was the notion that “if most of us nurdle a platform, then Jos and Eoin will do the big hitting to see us to a target.” It seems at last everyone is taking responsibility to be positive, which makes it much harder for the opposition.


  6. Rohan Jun 9, 2015 / 10:16 pm

    Must say I was shocked at our total and even more impressed by the way we bundled NZ out. As noted, however, and fully agreed with, one swallow does not a summer make.

    Allied to this, here are some questions I have been pondering:
    Would this have happened with Moores in charge?
    Is this a result of greater freedom from Farbrace?
    Is it a result of the players taking the initiative, in the absence of a head coach?
    Is it because Broad and Anderson have gone and, therefore, the environment is better?
    Is this a performance guided by Morgan, who is able to have a bigger say now Moores has gone?
    Is this a response to the appointment of Bayliss, drawn from the knowledge of how he might coach and encourage the players to express themselves?
    Is this another false dawn, flash in the pan?
    Is this all the more frustrating as most of these players played in the World Cup, or should have, but showed nothing remotely close to this kind of playing style?
    As test vice captain and supposed captain in waiting, how much influence has Root had on proceedings?
    One more, will the ECB take all of the credit for this and any subsequent performances at of this nature and standard?

    Some points to ponder………interested to hear your thoughts, although I think we will all share similar answers for some questions😉!


    • MM Jun 9, 2015 / 10:33 pm

      Would this have happened with Moores in charge? Nah, the computer sez nah.

      Is this a result of greater freedom from Farbrace? Maybe… perhaps he hated the previous 100 ODI’s too.

      Is it a result of the players taking the initiative, in the absence of a head coach? I think they just wanted to enjoy the game and give the Kiwis a bit back.

      Is it because Broad and Anderson have gone and, therefore, the environment is better? Whoa there, you outside cricket or wot? (Yes, I’d guess you were right with that ‘un)

      Is this a performance guided by Morgan, who is able to have a bigger say now Moores has gone? Likely, yes.

      Is this a response to the appointment of Bayliss, drawn from the knowledge of how he might coach and encourage the players to express themselves? Probably not, unless they’ve met him. Might be summat to do with Dermot Reeve. I thought he spoke damn well on the radio the other night. Was a bit surprised, considering.

      Is this another false dawn, flash in the pan? Could be, but we won’t know yet. Dead cat bounce, perhaps.

      Is this all the more frustrating as most of these players played in the World Cup, or should have, but showed nothing remotely close to this kind of playing style? Hamstrung by the hierachy, deffo.

      As test vice captain and supposed captain in waiting, how much influence has Root had on proceedings? He doesn’t strike me as a genius. Just check out his interviews. Runs are his currency. That’ll do it.

      One more, will the ECB take all of the credit for this and any subsequent performances at of this nature and standard? Oh hell, you’d expect that. But just ignore ’em.


      • dvyk Jun 10, 2015 / 4:18 pm

        Interesting bunch of answers!

        England should probably be better served by holding a massive inquiry into why something went right than into their disasters — no need to wonder what screwed up, but the successes always seem to come out of nowhere and evaporate just as mysteriously!


    • Zephirine Jun 9, 2015 / 11:08 pm

      Is it a result of the players taking the initiative, in the absence of a head coach?

      It looks to me as if Root, Stokes and Buttler in particular have seized the opportunity of the power vacuum to assert themselves. And a good thing too.


    • simonk133 Jun 10, 2015 / 6:32 am

      Yes to a few of those. Also Morgan probably needed a few games to gain the confidence to pursue his own approach, and the removal of Moores will have helped with that. The World Cup team with its bizarre and stupid selections and its neanderthal tactics was essentially the Cook-Moores team.


    • emasl Jun 10, 2015 / 7:26 am

      I, personally, felt a lightness of spirit because Cook, Broad and Anderson were not there. Particularly enjoyed not having to see Anderson’s surly face and persona. They actually looked as if they were enjoying their cricket and clear that now that Moores has gone the dead hand has also vanished. I really enjoyed watching this match today and I never thought I would say that again.


      • escort Jun 10, 2015 / 5:57 pm

        I think you might have something there EMALS.


  7. Mark Jun 9, 2015 / 10:18 pm

    1 match is to early to judge, but even if there is 1step backwards before we have 2 steps forward this is the way we should have gone 2 years ago. Those outside of cricket have been proved right and the morons who write cricket Cook bullshit are once again proved wrong. It’s not just the approach on the field it’s the approach off the field, and selection of players which has been so wrong.

    Time and again we have been proved right and so has KP. He said players should go to the IPL Flower and the frogs chorus in the media said no way. They were wrong and they should appologise both to the supporters and their readers. But they won’t because they have no decency. Instead they will shower praise on Strauss because he is the next establishment Golden boy, and it must always be established figures who get the praise when we have any success.

    Flower got all the praise and now it will be given to Strauss. It’s the English problem. We are obssesed with management establishment figures. This performance was about players. As it always is, but we always get bogged down in who is running the show.

    I said the other day the only test of any team is are we getting the best out of what we have got. It is nothing short of a criminal act that we haven’t been for the last 20 years in ODI cricket. It remains to be seen if this the start of a new dawn. Interesting times ahead, but in no way do the cricket ECB in house writers get any credit. They were wrong, wrong, wrong wrong. Nice if they had the guts to admit it. Michael Atherton was one of the few who questioned if Cook should have been ODI captain right from the start. He got it right, the rest were all more interested in propping up failure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Jun 9, 2015 / 11:13 pm

      “The frogs chorus in the media” is very good, Mark:

      Win or lose, sink or swim
      One thing Is certain, we’ll never give In
      Side by side, hand In hand
      We all stand together


  8. PepperSydney Jun 10, 2015 / 3:52 am

    what a fabulous surprise!!…….. whoda THUNK!….


  9. waikatoguy Jun 10, 2015 / 5:49 am

    “There lies the test. England will be bowled out from promising positions in some matches adopting this approach”.

    It seems to me that in the past there was just as much chance that England would be bowled out when they took the conservative approach and played defensively.


  10. richbeat77 Jun 10, 2015 / 6:16 am

    So England finally pick a team consisting entirely of players who have grown up playing T20 cricket. Most of them probably played T20 for their counties before any other form of cricket. And guess what they play with freedom and smash 400! I just think they played the way they’ve always played.

    And when it comes to bowling in Finn and Rashid you have 2 bowlers who will be expensive but will take wickets. It’s better to get 4-60 than 1-40 in ODIs something Eng have never seemingly grasped.

    I’ve said before Rashid should be in text side batting 8. Nobody ever talks about his batting which is dangerous as he proved here. Move Ali up the order and the 2 of them bowling in tandem could cause sides problems in the right conditions. Might also increase likehood of more players of South Asian descent playing for England if they weren’t treated as badly as Rashid has been and Monty before him. Not that I’m saying this is down to race just England’s pathetic historical failure to understand you pick the bowlers who will get you 20 wickets in the conditions. If 2 or 3 of them are spinners bloody pick them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jun 10, 2015 / 8:25 am

      In my lifetime, it has seemed that only Duncan Fletcher faced up to the fact that it’s much easier for a medium-fast/fast-medium swing bowler to get wickets on county cricket pitches than on dry Test pitches in England, let alone abroad.

      Flower never really took it in, but he had bits of luck. First, he had Swann. Second, Broad got injured in the 2nd Test “Down Under” and that brought Tremlett (a very different bowler) into the team. We saw that failing to replace Tremlett got us a thrashing by South Africa in 2012. (Finn showed some signs when finally picked, but of course, we got unlucky with his development.)
      Third element of luck for Flower – England in India (2012-13) – Panesar seen as “too risky” in the first Test – but we got thrashed, so they picked the second spinner from then on…

      I call it luck for Flower, because he never seemed to learn the lesson – and this is part of what lead to the 0-5 Down Under loss…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jun 10, 2015 / 8:43 am

        It was difficult enough to forgive the selection of Bresnan in Ahmedabad. “England will play to their strengths”, someone said, one “strength” being a chap with a bowling average of 90-odd in his last three Tests in *England* as opposed to another man with an average of 25 in his last three Tests in *Asia*, apparently. But it was impossible to forgive the sickening praise Flower received after belatedly changing his mind.

        Liked by 2 people

      • metatone Jun 10, 2015 / 10:07 am


        I really feel like the seeds of the 0-5 sit between the bizarre lack of alarm about the SA and Pakistan/UAE results and the inability of the press to criticise that obvious miscalculation in India.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Belgianwaffle Jun 10, 2015 / 9:55 am

    Thanks again for doing this. Couldn’t watch the match, but wish I had. Am I the only one who cares more about how games are played than whether they are won or lost?


    • thelegglance Jun 10, 2015 / 10:12 am

      Not a bit. I can’t get myself at all enthusiastic to see England win, but I loved their approach yesterday, and even if they’d lost I would have praised it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dvyk Jun 10, 2015 / 8:40 pm

        Jeez, even *I* liked their approach. And I would also have approved if they’d lost, but I won’t claim any moral high ground for that!


  12. paulewart Jun 10, 2015 / 10:48 am

    An England team scoring 400+ in a 50 over game is something to be celebrated surely. Is it the first time we’ve broken the 400 barrier? What’s not to like? No Cook, no Moores, younger players given their head, good times, I’d have thought, and one in the for Captain Cook and his abysmal defenders.


  13. Benny Jun 10, 2015 / 10:53 am

    Everyone pretty much spot on here. I certainly enjoyed watching the match and also had the feeling that England with Farbrace in charge and without the sinister Cook, Anderson, Broad clique, had a refreshingly different approach. Just disappointed that they’re pushing Taylor aside once again.

    Hope no-one’s saying “job done. We’ve got our best XI for perpetuity” a la Geoff Miller. We need a group of around 15 top players to choose from.

    Looking forward to the next ODI now

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Zephirine Jun 10, 2015 / 12:24 pm

    Also, a minor pleasure but a pleasure nonetheless, England ODI have a captain and players who can give a coherent and thoughtful post-match interview, analysing the game honestly in proper sentences and using no more than a normal range of clichés.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Jun 10, 2015 / 1:49 pm

      I noticed that too. No strangled ahhhmmm……


  15. RichBeat77 Jun 10, 2015 / 1:26 pm

    I wonder how many ODIs/tests Rashid would’ve played by now had he been Pakistani, Indian or Sri Lankan? Quite a few I’d suggest. You’d probably have seen Nasser on Sky lamenting that England don’t produce mystery spinners of his kind and fretting about how English batsmen struggling to pick his variations!

    I agree with Benny you need a squad of these type of players and the good thing is there’s plenty of good players in county cricket. I hope Willey, Rushworth, North-East, Coles, Footitt, Taylor etc get a chance to show what they can do. It would also be good to see youngsters like Fisher, Porter and Robinson get a crack in T20 games for England in the future.

    Great to see England play in such a positive way it should indeed be celebrated!


    • escort Jun 10, 2015 / 5:59 pm

      If only to do the team talk!!!!


  16. SimonH Jun 10, 2015 / 4:41 pm

    Buttler’s success raises a couple of issues:

    1) Some serious IPL interest has to be a probability – how are they going to manage it?
    2) Buttler (with Root and Stokes) seems an automatic pick in all formats – how are they going to manage this? (Resting him for a game would enable a closer look at Billings and give Taylor another chance. Perhaps also play Buttler as a specialist batsman in a match? I’m in favour of some rotation but generally not in the first match of a series which – unless there are unknown fitness factors – is why I thought NZ made a mistake not playing Southee).


    • Zephirine Jun 10, 2015 / 6:12 pm

      McCullum did say Southee had some slight niggles and that was why he was rested.


    • escort Jun 10, 2015 / 6:13 pm

      Strauss will be on thin ice as regards player management on this issue, He was criticised by some of the media when he was captain (can you remember when something like that actually happened) when he opted to miss a tour of Bangladesh. Times have changed but that decision by the ECB and of course Strauss are the fuel that perhaps ignited a fire that has been the cause of much of the problem with the England team.


      • d'Arthez Jun 10, 2015 / 7:36 pm

        As if the ECB ever let facts get in their way …


  17. d'Arthez Jun 10, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    In this all, you have to wonder if James Taylor will just end up with a handful of ODIs, most of which he was batting out of position, and just two solitary Test caps.

    I have my doubts about this England side having to bowl first. Bowling is always easier when batsman have to attack. That is why some of the best T20-bowlers make such terrible Test bowlers. Likewise, attacking is easier on roads than on wickets with a bit of life. I am not sure that England have the balance right as of yet.

    But we’ll see. It was certainly a promising start for a team with lots of new faces.


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