2nd ODI – New Zealand 398/5 (Taylor 119*, Williamson 93, Guptill 50) beat England 365-9 (Morgan 88, Hales 54) by 13 runs on DL Method.
Dmitri on duty tonight as thelegglance is having a break from the match reviews for the evening.
I did not get to see the first innings of the match. I missed Ross Taylor’s century, the hitting, the accumulation, the posting of the second highest score in ODI history in England. 398 for 5. I will leave it to others to describe the bowling, which judging by the commenters on here, wasn’t up to much, with the inability to take wickets still a major concern. The Oval clearly put up a road for the day’s entertainment judging by what I’m watching as I start the match report.
Now England’s chase is something we’ve wanted to see. They’ve gone for it. You know that it hasn’t been reckless, but it’s been focussed, it’s been a study in hitting and technique, and it is an even better example of the change of mentality that this ODI team seems to have in these early days of full reconstruction. They set the highest score that England have ever made in the second innings of an ODI. They did it with decent contributions down the order.
I can only really comment on what I’ve watched. The best sign was the innings of Eoin Morgan. He’s taken a hell of a lot of stick over the winter, even though he made an ODI hundred in Australia which his predecessor as captain hadn’t looked like doing for years. Sure, he wasn’t in top form, we knew that, but his 88 today was brilliant. It looked almost “risk-free” but if he’d continued he’d have beaten Buttler’s record. It’s back-to-back 50s for him, the first being mightily undetected in the last match which was crucial in the rebuilding of the innings.
The openers showed great promise, although Jason Roy’s dismissal annoyed me a touch. Fact is, that I’ll have to get over it with the way this team looks like it is setting up to play. Alex Hales made a decent half-century, but left you wanting more. One day I see that bloke clicking, being the sort you cannot bowl to, and beating Robin Smith’s record. Good grief, that needs to go, even remembering how much I liked Judge. Joe Root was a bit daft. I’m saying this early, I know, but all but one of his ODI tons came batting first, and while the other was a winning effort, it was in a chase of 240-odd. He’s our Kane Williamson. But you don’t come off every time.
Jos, even when he’s not in miracle mode, played well until nicking off. There’s the itch you can’t scratch that maybe he’s one or two places too low? Obviously not everyone can bat in the top 4 slots. If he did, he’d threathen that record too. Ben Stokes will also come off.
Then came Rashid and Plunkett. Then the rain. Then cricket being cricket.
There can be just two reasons for the equation of 13 balls to score 34 balls. Rigidity of rules so that the game finishes at a specified time, which is nonsense if all you are giving yourself is half an hour. London Transport, when it works, does run past 21:20. If it’s the Resident’s Association of Kennington, the sort that moaned when Surrey planned to build a hotel where the old relic Laker and Lock stands are, but seem to look out of their windows a lot when play is on, then stuff them. Their property values aren’t going down for 20 minutes play. Oh, I’m sure there’s plenty of rules is rules muppets out there, but get over yourselves.
Before the rain Rashid and Plunkett rode their luck but hit some superb shots. They kept a dead game alive. They are the reason we can get back to liking this team, those of us who need more than just Chef platitudes and to be told that the test team is now back in the fold. Rashid appears a totem for the past regime. A higher risk pick in a low risk management structure. Plunkett’s 44, completed in the farcical 13 ball period, was a brilliant sight. He’s a lost talent, through injury and other things, but we remember his batting being not bad stuff first time around. Rashid then fell to wonderful fielding. This game could have had such a great finale.
In defeat this England team won more admirers. That speaks volumes. We’ll forgive, always, those that give it a go, a reall good go. Not reckless abandon, but positive intent. Not fear of failure, but being positive, attacking, aggressive with the bat. This is something I can get behind. I don’t usually do “heroic failure” but we can all see progress here.
Lastly, I thought I’d address some of the stuff I had this morning. Frankly, if you read my Meantime London Lager fuelled riposte to the Pringle “irrelevant” jibe, and the main point you took out of it was that I resented business travel, then there’s not a lot I can do. I thought the piece was framed, even in my alcohol-induced blind rage, to say we pay our way, we feel the pain not only personally, but financially, and it isn’t our job to follow the team, but our passion. Now, I am not saying the hacks are not equally as passionate, but they are the envy of many by getting paid to travel the world to watch the game. Therefore, when those in that fortunate, privileged position decide that those who pay their wages are irrelevant, is the point that all but a few seemed to grasp. Thelegglance has a think piece on this which we’ll release over the weekend.
Oh, it’s not about me being criticised. I dish it out, so I have to take it. But it doesn’t mean I won’t defend myself.