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Cricket World Cup: Clinical Black Caps win again

Monday 9 October 2023 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports


Cricket World Cup: Clinical Black Caps win again
Player of the match Mitch Santner. Picrure credits to ICC/Getty Images.

Google tells me that Interstate 80 in Utah, United States, is the flattest straight road in the world. Before the start of the Black Caps versus the Netherlands match on Sunday, the Hyderabad pitch looked like Interstate 80. Hard, flat, and full of runs, writes Rahul Patil.

My hotel is about four kilometres from the stadium and I decided to walk the distance yesterday morning (India time). It turned out to be an average call in the 33-degree heat and 44 per cent humidity. Bat first I thought immediately but the Black Caps had surprised us in Ahmedabad. Thankfully that decision wasn’t theirs to make.

A fully fit Lockie Ferguson came back into the playing XI at the expense of Jimmy Neesham who didn’t have a great game with the ball against England. The first three maiden overs bowled by the Dutch quickly confirmed that the pitch wasn’t as good as it looked. Experienced teams though wouldn’t have let the pressure be released as easily as Netherlands did. The Black Caps plundered 63 of the next seven overs to make it a fruitful power play.

With Rachin Ravindra scoring a brilliant century in Ahmedabad, Will Young and Mark Chapman knew that this was probably their last opportunity to secure their place in the side when Williamson returns. Young presented his credentials extremely well with a timely 80 ball 70. He might just be given an honorary Indian driver’s license for his delightful driving especially through the offside. With that innings one gets the feeling that the axe is off Young’s neck at least for the near future.

Devon Conway usually has loads of patience and once he’s set, he rarely throws it away. But he looked a bit fidgety and tried several cute shots before finally holing out to the man on the mid-wicket fence. It’s not easy playing big innings back-to-back in this heat.

Clearly a crowd favourite in India, Ravindra got the loudest cheer of all the batters from a small but vociferous Hyderabad crowd. He didn’t disappoint them either playing some gorgeous strokes for his run a ball 51. The only positive of both Young and Ravindra getting out was that the Black Caps middle order finally got much needed time in the middle. Daryl Mitchell and Tom Latham made the most of that opportunity, but Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman failed to provide the all-important finishing touches.

Mitch Santner had throw downs for a long time before the start of play and all that effort definitely paid off as he provided the much needed impetus to the innings at the right time to take the Black Caps to a comfortable 322 for 7 in their 50 overs.

323 was always going to be an uphill task for the Netherlands. Relentless pressure applied by the Black Caps with the ball and in the field led to regular wickets which meant that the Dutch were never in the hunt. Colin Ackerman played a lone hand of 69 but the lack of support saw the entire team bundled out for 223 giving the Black Caps a huge win by 99 runs. Santner who has impressed everyone with his craft in this World Cup picked up his second five wicket haul in ODI’s finishing with figures of 10-0-59-5.

With massive back-to-back wins, the Black Caps have extended their lead at the top of the table. The cauldron of Chennai is their next stop where they first play Bangladesh and then Afghanistan. Going by what we saw in the India versus Australia game, the hot and humid conditions are probably going to be the harshest that the Black Caps face in this World Cup.

The pitch is expected to be a typical Chennai wicket. Slow and low with plenty of turn. Both Bangladesh and Afghanistan have several spinners in their side and will be keen to spring an upset. Black Caps though have local CSK boy Santner in their ranks. Santner knows the Chennai pitch and conditions like the back of his hand, and I am sure in the coming days he will play a crucial role in team meetings.

Selection wise, Ish Sodhi must be in the reckoning for Chennai in place of Lockie Ferguson. Williamson is also expected to be fully fit, and it looks like Mark Chapman will have to make way for him. The Black Caps have had a terrific start to their World Cup campaign and as long as they don’t get complacent, they should remain undefeated at the end of the Chennai leg.

  • New Zealand-based cricket writer Rahul Patil has been accredited to cover the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 for Cook Islands News. Follow him on Twitter/X, @rahulpatilnz.