Episode 204 of The BYC: The Bus Stop 666 Habib Episode

Kev, Off White Thunder and The Godfather reconvene in Karori for Episode 204 – all are excited about the looming Lord’s Test match. Two of the lads think the Poms will be thrashed by the Black Caps. One does not.

Emails From Around the World land from the LNZCC, a Finnish West Indian fan, Plump Thunder & Muzza. Mike M unleashes a barrage of players who managed to devastate New Zealand, despite not actually being that good.

Kev relives the 1999 NZ v England test – and we can’t remember the name of the new English pace bowler – its Woodforthetrees by the way.

Listen in below or on iTunes or on gpodder.net if you’re a non-Appler.

Email the chaps with your observations, nonsense, questions & thoughts at byc@beigebrigade.co.nz.

THE PODDIE

 

Episode 203 of The BYC: The Lubbock Prime Numbers Episode

After a heart-pumping and heart-breaking World Cup, Kev, Off White Thunder and The Godfather finally get themselves back together for a podcast.

They talk about prime numbers, the Hairy Javelin, catch up on some magnificent Emails From Around the World and make bold predictions about the forthcoming NZ v England series.

Listen in below or on iTunes or on gpodder.net if you’re a non-Appler.

Email the chaps with your observations, nonsense, questions & thoughts at byc@beigebrigade.co.nz.

THE PODDIE

 

Episode 202 of the BYC Podcast: The Pumping Southee Road to Melbourne Episode

Kev, Off White Thunder & The Godfather regather themselves after an epic 2 weeks of cricket in new Zealand, including a squeaky bum match against the Bangers&Mash.

Kev is pro-Australia, inexplicably, and there is a lot of talk about The Road to Melbourne.

The boys discuss the greatest catches of all time, Peter Kennedy gets a mention in Muzz’s Email From Around the World and we pop our heads inside the Alternative Commentary Collective for a moment too.

Listen in below or on iTunes or on gpodder.net if you’re a non-Appler.

Email the chaps with your observations, nonsense, questions & thoughts at byc@beigebrigade.co.nz.

THE PODDIE

 

The ACC Beige Brigade shirt

For sale

An official Beige Brigade shirt signed by the seven chaps who comprise The Alternative Commentary Collective: Jeremy Wells (saxophonist), Mike Lane (medical student), Leigh Hart (celebrity chef), Lee Baker (hairdresser), Matt Heath (parenting advisor), Jason Hoyte (part-time zombie) and Paul Ford (fashion blogger).

All dosh to the PCF (prostate cancer not Pakistan Cricket).

image1

http://www.trademe.co.nz/858444725

Preview: Afghanistan vs NZ, Blue Tigers vs Black Caps

The good buggers at Third Man Cricket are penning us sweet delicious match previews for the World Cup games featuring our men in black hats. Over to you Damien George

With the hard work done and top spot in Group A safely secured barring a major hiccup, New Zealand has been able to sit back and watch other teams jostle for positions while it enjoys some time at home and a lengthy break. In contrast, Afghanistan, undoubtedly a fan favourite at this tournament, has been given a harsh reminder of exactly how big the gap is between the competition’s top teams and minnows following a demoralising 275-run loss to Australia.

***

It is hard to know what to make, then, of Afghanistan’s impressive showing against Sri Lanka in Dunedin when it pushed the victors all the way, and could just about have won if not for Thisara Perera’s late onslaught. Its bowling was impressive, as it has been throughout the tournament, with the Zadrans – Dawlat and Shapoor -and Hamid Hassan bowling with vigour and intent, and the slow bowling of captain Mohammad Nabi and flat leg-spinner Samiullah Shenwari backing them up well.

In that match in Dunedin, Afghanistan removed Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakarra with the score at 18, then picked up the fourth wicket at 51. It was only a stubborn partnership between captain Angelo Mathews and old stager Mahela Jayawardene, plus Perera’s hitting, that saved Sri Lanka’s blushes. The side would have gone to Perth in good spirits to take on Australia. A win would not have been expected, but a good showing and a chance to make a statement would have been. Instead, it was flogged for 417, then dismissed for just 142 in a hapless run chase.

It remains to be seen how much the result has damaged the morale and flamboyance of the Afghans. The side has won favouritism for its giant-killing attitude, with the likes of the headband-wearing Hassan and marathon-running Shapoor winning cult hero status in New Zealand.

But Afghanistan will know they could be in for more of the same following their Australian reality check, with New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum in a ruthless mood that has been nothing short of whirlwind even by his standards in this World Cup. The Afghans may, however, be shown some mercy by a New Zealand batting line-up in desperate need of some time in the middle.

***

Kane Williamson, the hero of last weekend’s Auckland thriller, has looked as good as ever but has only been able to muster scores of 57, 38, 9* and 45*, largely owing to New Zealand’s dominant bowling.

Martin Guptill has likewise looked good but hasn’t made a meaningful contribution since his 49 against Sri Lanka three weeks ago. Ross Taylor has had a dreadful tournament, and he and Grant Elliott will both be desperate for lengthy innings after being shown up badly by Australia’s Mitchell Starc.

Being able to keep the scoring rate in check will be a priority for Afghanistan, but it is capable of striking, and removing McCullum early would greatly lift their spirits. One can only imagine how far Shapoor will run before being caught if he is the man to do it.

The Afghans batting has not been as impressive as its batting, but it does have some capable stroke-makers and has produced some good innings by the likes of Javed Ahmadi, Ashgar Stanikzai, Shenwari and Nabi.

New Zealand’s bowling attack is arguably the strongest in the tournament though, and all eyes will be on McCullum if he wins the toss to see whether he continues his ruthless approach by inserting the Afghans, or acknowledges his batting order’s need of match practice by opting to post a total.

McCullum and the New Zealanders will be respectful of Afghanistan, as they have been of every team in this tournament, and it would not be a surprise to see him give his bowlers the new ball and instruct them to wreak havoc.

***

With a week between games and a further five days until its next assignment against Bangladesh, it appears unlikely New Zealand will make any changes to its first-choice line-up unless it believes a permanent change is needed. Three games in seven days at the start of the tournament seemed the likely opportunity to give the squad a run.

It sounds like a broken record now, but Mitch McClenaghan must be very close to being seen as a more effective option than Adam Milne. Milne was picked for game one and has been stuck with owing to a desire to keep an unchanged side. It is a commendable approach but a closer look will reveal the young quick has not offered a whole lot to the cause to date and, in the unlikely event both Tim Southee and Trent Boult fail to deliver in a big match, Milne seems unlikely to be the one to turn a game.

***

STAT WATCH

There are a few milestones on the horizon for the New Zealanders ahead of tomorrow’s match:

  • Daniel Vettori needs just two wickets to become the first New Zealander to take 300 ODI wickets. He currently has 298 at an average of 31.8 and an economy rate of 4.1. In this World Cup, he has taken 8 wickets at 14.75 and an economy of 3.3.
  • Tim Southee needs two wickets to become New Zealand’s second-highest wicket-taker in World Cups. He currently has 31 in two World Cups at 15.74, one behind Chris Harris who took 32 at 26.90. Jacob Oram heads the list, with 36 wickets at 21.33. In this World Cup, Southee is the highest wicket-taker with 13 at 13.5, including 7-33 against England.
  • Ross Taylor needs just 58 runs to become the fourth New Zealander to reach 5000 ODI runs. He currently has 4942 runs at 41.1, with 12 hundreds and 29 fifties. However, in this World Cup, he has scored just 29 runs at 9.6.
  • Brendon McCullum is New Zealand’s highest run-scorer in the World Cup so far with 207 runs at 51.7 and a strike rate of 188. He is 15th in the tournament so far, but just 72 runs behind first-placed Chris Gayle and 26 runs outside the top ten.

 

About Damian: I’ve been plying my trade as a reporter in New Zealand for the last couple of years, having studied journalism at Massey University in Wellington. This has always taken a back seat to cricket though. From a playing perspective, I turned out for many an age-group rep side as a youngster and played for my school’s First XI for three years. Reporting wise, I was a media liaison at the 2010 Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, and was sports reporter at The Blenheim Sun newspaper the same year, where I wrote my own sports column.

Episode 201 of the BYC Podcast: The Fizzing at the Bung Episode

The boys are off their faces after the incredible NZ wins over England by a million and over Australia by one. They are stunned that Kiwis are going to cricket – and then actually watching it. Kev is happy that things haven’t been in the gutter in terms of on-field behaviour, Jase reckons we can win this thing, and The Godfather has a lot of love for ‘The Blue Tiger’ Shapoor Some Sugar On Me.

There are Emails From Around the World, including the return of The Regular Correspondent. Ugly players are discussed – technical not aesthetic ugliness.

Listen in below or on iTunes or on gpodder.net if you’re a non-Appler.

Email the chaps with your observations, nonsense, questions & thoughts at byc@beigebrigade.co.nz.

THE PODDIE

Def Leppard

Episode 200 of the BYC Podcast: The Double Ton Thank You Episode

The boys are in Cricket World Cup mode: ridiculously excited, gagging to get along to the next match and keen to say a few thank yous to everyone who has helped them get to the 200th episode unscathed.

There are Emails From Around the World, an incredible gift is unwrapped after arriving intact from Scotland (see below), and there is some trepidation about what looms for the men in black hats.

Listen in below or on iTunes or on gpodder.net if you’re a non-Appler.

Email the chaps with your observations, nonsense, questions & thoughts at byc@beigebrigade.co.nz.

THE PODDIE

BYC crew

Off White, Kev and The Godfather at Beige HQ with the magnificent half Chats/half horse sculpture from the Irwinator, homemade and all the way from Scotland.

 

Match preview: New Zealand v England – Close contest in store

The good buggers at Third Man Cricket are penning us sweet delicious match for the World Cup games featuring our men in black hats. The Prisoners of Mother England are next. Over to you Damien George

96Talk is already starting to circulate about New Zealand’s eagerly-awaited potential crunch match against Australia at Eden Park next Saturday, but the Black Caps themselves know they face one more huge challenge before any attention can turn to the big one against Johnson and co.

The New Zealand camp has its feet firmly on the ground ahead of tomorrow’s battle against England in Wellington, and rightly so. A win would all but guarantee the Black Caps are playing for Group A’s top spot when it does take on the Aussies next week, and England are sure to push the hosts a lot closer than many pundits are expecting.

***

England continues to be an anomaly in one-day cricket – its on-paper line-up defies its sixth-placed ranking and poor recent World Cup history – but it is worth remembering it has a good recent record against New Zealand and played well to reach the final of the one-day tri-series in Australia. In home and away series against New Zealand in 2013, honours were shared 3-3 and England won when the two sides met in the Champions Trophy the same year. Since then, New Zealand has become a different side, carrying a settled and confident line-up into the World Cup, while England lost three consecutive series (two at home) before arriving in Australia post-Christmas.

The main problem for England shapes as its batting. While it has many class players, none, other than possibly Jos Buttler, appeal as a player who can take the game away from New Zealand. Ian Bell is a class act, Joe Root is one of the best young talents in the game, and James Taylor, also a young player, is coming off an unbeaten 98 against Australia. But of the more fluent stroke-makers, Eion Morgan is only hanging on to his reputation as one of the game’s premier finishers, and Moeen Ali, though a definite contender for beard of the tournament, is averaging just 18.6 in his last ten innings with a best of 46.

***

Bell and Ali will face up to one of the best new-ball combinations in the tournament – Trent Boult and Tim Southee. While Boult’s two early lbw scalps in New Zealand’s last game against Scotland were against less-established batsmen, the view from where I was sitting in the scorer’s box behind the umpire suggested those balls would have got most batsman out. Of most concern for the English is Boult and Southee had the ball swinging prodigiously, something we didn’t see in New Zealand’s first match against Sri Lanka in Christchurch. Interestingly, the clear conditions in Dunedin didn’t appear to be conducive to swing so, either Boult has figured out how to make the white ball go, or it was just one of those days for the left-arm quick. If it is swinging, Bell is a contender for lbw early in his innings, so he will have to be adept in not getting his front pad too far across when defending, as will all the English right-handers.

There was a certain release of the pressure valve when Adam Milne came into the attack against Scotland, something England will have taken note of. With Dan Vettori likely to be given due respect, Milne, along with Anderson and Elliott, may be the bowlers the English look to get hold of. Milne had to bowl to more established batsmen by the time he came on in Dunedin, but will need to consistently reach speeds of close to 150k or extract something from the pitch if he is to be more effective and continue to keep the unlucky Mitch McClenaghan out of the side. Anderson’s bowling always creates something, but in one of these games that something is likely to be a leaking of runs.

***

New Zealand played its strongest side against Scotland in an effort not to be complacent 1992+Cricket+World+Cup+Australia+New+Zealand+HQnS2z0GKEyland managed to maintain its discipline and accuracy for half of the match. By the time the batsmen came out to chase a meagre 140, the standards began to drop slightly. A mixture of some mistimed shots and a pitch which gripped and held a little meant New Zealand faltered in its chase and lost more wickets than it would have wanted, but the result was never in doubt. With England’s attack offering height and pace, expect New Zealand’s batsmen to be more on edge tomorrow. James Anderson remains one of the world’s premier swing bowlers; Stuart Broad is working up real pace and reminded everyone of his destructiveness when he cleaned up David Warner and nicked out Shane Watson in consecutive balls against Australia; and Chris Woakes and Steve Finn offer able back-up.

In the back of the English minds will be the Brendon McCullum factor – when England last toured here, the New Zealand captain terrorised the English attack in all three forms of the game to the point they became gun shy running in at him. If McCullum can nullify Anderson and Broad early, and Williamson can get into his rhythm from the word go, New Zealand will go a long way toward denting England’s confidence. On another note, when Luke Ronchi misses out, he usually comes back strong, so look for him to take out some frustration from the Scotland failure on the English. The same can probably be said about Corey Anderson.

This will be a close contest, and England have some match-winners which can turn a game, but New Zealand have a stronger team overall and should be able to withstand any onslaughts from the English for long enough to come out on top.

 

New Zealand v England, 2pm

The Cake Tin, aka Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington

Forecast: Fine, 23

damian-9About Damian: I’ve been plying my trade as a reporter in New Zealand for the last couple of years, having studied journalism at Massey University in Wellington. This has always taken a back seat to cricket though. From a playing perspective, I turned out for many an age-group rep side as a youngster and played for my school’s First XI for three years. Reporting wise, I was a media liaison at the 2010 Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, and was sports reporter at The Blenheim Sun newspaper the same year, where I wrote my own sports column.

Review: NZ v Sri Lanka // Preview: New Zealand vs Scotland

The good buggers at Third Man Cricket are penning us sweet delicious match reviews & previews for the World Cup games featuring our men in black hats. We are chasing kilt in Dunedin on Tuesday. Over to you Damien George

n578235275_2892237_9875Even the most romantic of writers probably couldn’t have scripted that one better.

Put in to bat, in front of a capacity Christchurch crowd at fever pitch, nearly four years to the day since the tragic earthquake which took the lives of more than a hundred Cantabrians, the New Zealanders greeted the 2015 World Cup on home soil in rollicking fashion at Hagley Oval with a 98-run win that was emphatic in all aspects.

A loss would not have been the end of the world for the Kiwis, but it would have done nothing to maintain the excitement levels across the country before this tournament, or fuel optimism this is New Zealand’s year to charge to its first cup final. No need to worry about that, then. Captain Brendon McCullum and under-fire opening partner Martin Guptill came out and flayed 110 runs off the first 15 overs and that, in all reality, was pretty much that.

Guptill played as fluently as he has in recent memory to make 49 from 62 balls and captain Baz, though probably throwing away a hundred, did his job and then some in making 65 from just 49 balls – comfortably his highest score against quality opposition in four World Cups. Even half of that effort would have been enough to get New Zealand on top. Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath did their best to stem the flow early on – with Herath nabbing McCullum – but ultimately New Zealand was always on top.

Kane Williamson overcame some obvious early nerves to make 57, getting dropped twice along the way. He was never quite at his fluent best, but ultimately smacked 22 off two overs before getting out to take New Zealand to 192 from 33 overs, ensuring 300 was a minimum and anything over that was likely. When Williamson and Taylor got out in consecutive balls, Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi did a superb job to steady the ship, setting New Zealand up at 229/4 with ten to go. Anderson should have been caught on two, but was shelled by Dinseh Chandimal at long-on and went on to play an unbelievable innings, smashing 75 from 46 balls. The Sri Lankans stacked the off side and bowled wide, but Anderson made a mockery of it. As predicted, Lasith Malinga was a long way off the pace, going for 84 off his ten overs, and took a wicket off a no-ball just to rub it in.

In reply, Sri Lanka’s challenge lasted about 22 overs, when Trent Boult took the first of a triple breakthrough for New Zealand. At 129 for four, with Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene back in the hut, the game was over as a contest. Boult didn’t swing the new ball but found some swing later, producing the ball of the day to clean up Thirimanne and getting Sangaz lbw with one that swung in. In between times, Dan Vettori nabbed two key scalps, and finished with the incredible figures of 2 for 34. Milne ran in hard and grabbed two, as did Southee, who bowled a tidy opening spell, and Anderson, who capped off a huge day.

Ultimately, the decision to bowl first was a strange one from Sri Lanka – based on some overhead cloud. It was interesting to hear McCullum would have done the same thing –in big games, runs on the board is the way to go and the Christchurch wicket was as flat and hard as they come.

***

New Zealand now heads south to sunny Dunedin to take on Scotland on Tuesday in what will be a test of mental strength more than physical. With three games in seven days (New Zealand plays England on Friday), the home side may look to utilise its squad. This is probably the only opportunity for the likes of Mitch McClenaghan, Kyle Mills and Nathan McCullum to get in some crucial match practise before the top XI takes the field for the remainder of the tournament, given the large gaps between games after Friday.

The pitch at University Oval in Dunedin generally plays very true and has a reputation for losing a little life as the match wears on. It means batting conditions will be optimal and it could be hard work for the bowlers. In saying that, of course, New Zealand will expect to make light work of associate nation Scotland. It is a crucial game not only in that New Zealand needs to take care of the Scots, but do so reasonably comfortably for the sake of its net run rate. The World Cup is always good for an upset but this Black Caps side is too focused to become a victim of the next one.

The Scots will not necessarily be a pushover though – in its two warm-up games, it accounted easily for Ireland, winning by a huge 179 runs, and only narrowly went down to West Indies, falling just three runs short in its chase of 313.

Fine weather and 22 degrees is forecast for Dunedin on Tuesday, so let’s hope the Scots turn it on for the sell-out crowd and provide a decent challenge for the Kiwis.

Preview: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka

The good buggers at Third Man Cricket are penning us sweet delicious match previews for the World Cup games featuring our men in black hats. It all begins in Quaketown tomorrow – what a controversial way to spend Valentine’s Day. Over to you Damien George – and yes, you can trust him despite the 2 first names.

It is the game New Zealanders have been waiting on for what seems like an age. The entrée has been served up in the form of eight one-dayers against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, now the main course awaits in what will be a contest between the form and confidence of New Zealand and the self-belief and big-game temperament of Sri Lanka.

For all the hype and optimism surrounding New Zealand’s lead-in to this World Cup, there remains just an air of uncertainty about how the arrival of the big day will affect the mind-set and approach of the Black Caps. The last time it played a World Cup match in New Zealand, Mark Greatbatch was swatting balls into the terraces at Carisbrook and Rockin’ Rod Latham was sending down meat pies at barely 115 kilometres per hour.

Shake - man of the match in The Tron, NZ v Sri Lanka 1992

Shake – man of the match in The Tron, NZ v Sri Lanka 1992

***

It has been a long time coming and Saturday is a big day in Christchurch but, from the outside looking in, it seems this group of New Zealand cricketers are the most grounded and unflustered bunch of men you could wish for, and captain Brendon McCullum has said as much.

In recent times, New Zealand has faced adversity and more often than not overcome it. From the come-from-behind series win against Pakistan in the UAE to the heroics of Luke Ronchi and Grant Elliott against Sri Lanka in Dunedin, New Zealand has shown a new-found spine and unyielding character. On the other side at Hagley Oval stands a Sri Lankan team which has made an art-form out of peaking for big tournaments and has proven too much for New Zealand to overcome in recent World Cups.

This time round, though exercising the required degree of caution, I am banking on New Zealand’s strong form and home ground advantage to carry it to a rare first-up win.

***

Sri Lanka’s top four is formidable, with Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene contributing a staggering 35,600 runs between them across 1145 one-day internationals. They are followed by skipper Angelo Mathews, who averages over 40, and a host of big-hitters including Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, and Nuwan Kulasekara. This may sound like curtains for New Zealand, but the encouraging aspect for the home side, as evidenced by its recent 4-2 series victory, is not one of the middle order players mentioned above made anything close to a significant contribution across the six matches in January.

Arjuna

Arjuna

When the big three made runs, the others failed to capatalise. For New Zealand to win on Saturday, this trend will need to continue. In New Zealand’s favour is its approach to the middle overs, which has been well documented by McCullum. While other sides may let the game drift or look to make up its fifth bowler with a variety of part-timers, New Zealand will look to mix aggression with defence. The likes of Trent Boult, Adam Milne and Tim Southee (probably New Zealand’s bowling line-up for Saturday) will be brought back sporadically to keep the Sri Lankan batsmen on their toes.

Dan Vettori should again complete ten miserly overs, meaning the visitors will likely have to target Corey Anderson and Grant Elliott – though Milne shapes as a target as well if he can’t reach top speed consistently. Both Anderson and Elliott have been in good form with the ball, so there is no glaring weakness for the Kiwis. The only area of concern shapes as the death bowling, where New Zealand has been somewhat vulnerable. With Southee apparently tapering off in this area, especially in his ability to bowl yorkers, look for Anderson and Boult to be the go-to men here. If a top batsman is set with ten overs to go, New Zealand could be in trouble, as Sangakarra showed in the final one-dayer in Wellington when he blitzed 113.

***

New Zealand’s batting is about as sure as it’s ever been, but getting off to a good start still needs to be given some attention. The plan from McCullum seems to be to go hell-for-leather for as long as it lasts, with Kane Williamson the safety net. But Baz’s blueprint should be based on the 117 he scored in game two against Sri Lanka. If he takes this more responsible approach, as he has in the test game, he could enjoy the same fruitful tournament Greatbatch did 23 years ago.

Crowe & Congdon sit closely after the 1992 game in Hamilton

It is safe money betting on Williamson to make runs, and don’t be surprised if Taylor does either. Elliott and Ronchi have shown nothing bothers them and they seem completely unphased by the situation, while Anderson has shown he too has the ability to mix aggression with caution. New Zealand’s tail has some real sting, so it will be in it till the final ball no matter what happens.

Above all, even with the return of Lasith Malinga and a very competent support cast, I believe New Zealand has inflicted too much damage on the Sri Lankan bowlers in recent weeks for its effect to not still be lingering. Malinga will get better as the tournament goes on, but I don’t expect him to hit the ground running on Saturday after a couple of uneventful warm-up games. It is going somewhat against the trend, but I am picking the Black Caps to start on a winning note and make it 5-2 against the Sri Lankans this summer.

 

Match begins: 11am NZT, Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Form guide:

New Zealand: 4-2 over Sri Lanka, 2-0 over Pakistan. Warm-up games: 157/7 against Zimbabwe (Guptill 100); 331/8 (Williamson 66, B McCullum 59, Taylor 41, played 197 (Boult 5-52) against South Africa.

Sri Lanka: 2-4 against New Zealand. Warm-up games: 279/7 (Dilshan 100, Mathews 58) played 188/5 (lost on D/L) against South Africa; 279/8 (Karunaratne 58, Mendis 51) played 281/3 against Zimbabwe.

 

damian-9About Damian: I’ve been plying my trade as a reporter in New Zealand for the last couple of years, having studied journalism at Massey University in Wellington. This has always taken a back seat to cricket though. From a playing perspective, I turned out for many an age-group rep side as a youngster and played for my school’s First XI for three years. Reporting wise, I was a media liaison at the 2010 Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, and was sports reporter at The Blenheim Sun newspaper the same year, where I wrote my own sports column.