Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 26, 2013

England vs New Zealand First T20I – The Final Over of the England Innings

A man more scared of a target of 335 than West Indian pacemen

A man more scared of a target of 335 than West Indian pacemen

Ball One – Bring back the old ways?

We’ve become a little used to it these days, but 10 an over! For 20 overs!! And even that wouldn’t be enough!!! There’s a case for Michael Lumb doing a Sunil Gavaskar, so daunting is the target.

Ball Two – No balls need sorting out

Hard on the heels (literally) of Stuart Broad’s very close call for a no ball that wasn’t that decided the Champions Trophy match between these two sides (by sending back Kane Williamson), Mitchell McClenghan was pinged for overstepping on a landing that looked much more behind the line than Broad’s. Given the inexplicable desire of bowlers to land as close to no ball territory as possible, a smudgy, flaky line isn’t much good for the onfield umpire nor the man upstairs watching replays on the HD TV. With an extra ball and a free hit (and sometimes a wicket) at stake, these decisions need to be more certain – and that’s a matter for the lawmakers, not the umpires who have been given a hospital pass on this one.

Ball Three – In the future, everyone will be David Hussey

England’s anti-Gavaskar assault on the distant target is temporarily halted by Nathan McCullum spearing a dart in at Michael Lumb’s feet and bowling him. Though a fielding captain doesn’t want 120 identical deliveries, a slow bowler aiming flat ones at the base of leg stump might be the deliveries he wants to see most often. Which is why I still find it hard to understand why there are not more davidhusseys in T20 cricket.

Ball Four – Good noise and bad noise

A full house at The Oval, with some drink taken and plenty to shout about, are making an tremendous din – and the moment the ball rises, so does the volume. But, as ever, the marketing men – who probably have no feel for the game, maybe none for sport in general – insist on playing a selection of deafening hooks from “That’s What I call Music CXXVII” at every opportunity. I’ll concede that there are times when a crowd needs geeing up, but tonight isn’t one of them. Sport is so great because it makes its own atmosphere, creates its own narratives, drives its own drama – but sport isn’t trusted to do so these days. Spend an hour with the BBC’s coverage of any sport and find out how little the organisation that defined sports coverage in the UK trusts its audience to simply enjoy sport for sport’s sake.  And, after The Olympics is now etched in stone as the best way to present sport (live and on television), there’s no going back now.

Ball Five – Keep It Simple Stupid

…is never a bad idea in any walk of life. There are many ways to chase 102, but only one way to chase 202 – start big and keep going big ball after ball. There’s much to be said for simplifying cricket’s extraordinary range of possibilities – as I wrote about in this piece on Chris Gayle. Luke Wright is no Chris Gayle, but hearing captain telling him to “Swing at everything” is exactly the kind of simple game that suits him. And that is what he has done.

Ball Six – Fielding is a spectacle in itself

Resurrect one of the many all-time great cricketers who have played on this grand old ground and there’s much that they would find unrecognisable about this match. But perhaps the one aspect of today’s cricket that would most stun them, is the excellence of the fielding from every man on the paddock. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that (bar a Derek Randall or a Jonty Rhodes), the best fielders in an XI of a generation or so ago would have to up their games just to be the worst fielder in an XI of 2013. As if to prove my point, as I write, Ross Taylor takes a gasp-inducing catch inside and high at slip. If all T20 offered as a spectacle was its fielding, it would still be one helluva sight.

You can tweet me at @garynaylor999


  1. Re: ball 4, music can work. Americans make it work. Films make music work. But one thing that I hadn’t noticed, but was pointed out recently, is that – in general – American sports don’t play music with lyrics. My problem with most cricket ground effects is not that they are trying to gee-up the crowd, but that they have no feel for the crowd – not even the feel a DJ has for a crowd – and just play a bunch of tunes or let off fireworks (even when the opposition succeeds). If the effects enhanced the narrative I doubt we’d much care.

    Re: ball 5, this was an unusual T20 game in that it stayed close despite the big chase. More often, teams trying to go big ball after ball collapse to sad and sizeable defeats. If I was to change T20, it would be to make it split-innings at 10 overs (removes the need for a D/L equation too, just call it at halfway). In this match 104/1 played 103/1. Intriguing scoreline.

    • Oh, and on ball 2. This could be automated with a side-on camera and some basic computer-vision, the result sent to a smart-phone (google glass?) that the umpire carries as soon as the foot lands. If there is one frustrating thing about the DRS debate it is that the debate surrounds such crap use of technology. Watching a TV screen is very 1980s, I think we can do better.

    • Hi Russ. My problem with the music is that it replaces an atmosphere that has built in response to the match with one that is artificial. It flattens everything into a uniform blast whether it’s a four that takes the score from 43-3 to 47-3 or the six that wins the match.

      I think splitting the innings would be complicated, but I take the point.

      Re the computer assistance – yes and the sooner the better..

  2. Was a cracking game all round.
    Keep it simple stupid should also be extended to the music. Basketball in the states stuck with Queen’s we will rock you in short bursts for well over 20 years, but it was generally used to start the crowd. At the cricket, they seem to want to start and stop the crowd with the music.

  3. Oh and that paddle 6 by Buttler off Butler when it was 26 off 12. I thought New Zealand might get out foxed at that point. great shot.

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