I Ain't Dead Yet!

I Ain't Dead Yet!

Post by Rowan Morrel » Thu, 06 May 1999 04:00:00

Hi everyone!

I know it's been a while, but I just wanted to assure you all that I
haven't deserted the newsgroup. No evil mishaps have overtaken me or
anything like that. Just been taking a break from cricket - haven't even
read RSC much! But now with the World Cup about to start, I thought I'd
better wade back into the fray, as it were.

Now, as a New Zealander, I thought I would comment on New Zealand's
chances first. The Black Caps have done about as well as most teams
since the last World Cup. They haven't been terribly consistent, but
apart from South Africa, who has? Nathan Astle will have a very
important role to play at the top of the innings. If he can score a few
centuries, or at least 80s and 90s, the Black Caps will be in with a
very good show in most games. Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns can also
be gamebreakers, if it's their day. In the case of Cairns, all too often
it isn't his day. But if he fires against, say Australia, that could
make a huge difference to our prospects. Another very important player
will be Chris Harris. He should be one of the top fielders of the
tournament, and no one can bat as well in the last ten overs as he can.
If Stephen Fleming can find some form, he may make some big scores too.

Bowling is a worry. Geoff Allott has looked good at ODI level in recent
times, but will he have the necessary control with the more swingy Duke
ball? Carl Bulfin is also capable of making the necessary breakthroughs
early on, but again, his control may be lacking. We'll just have to see.
Gavin Larsen and Chris Harris should be reasonably tight. Daniel Vettori
is another concern, though his form in the last couple of matches
against South Africa was encouraging. Handy lower order batsman, but I
have doubts about his ability to contain in the middle overs. However,
if he can get it right, he should not only be able to contain, but pick
up wickets.

NZ has a tough road to the Super Six, having to face Australia, the West
Indies and Pakistan. The good news is that all these teams have suffered
from inconsistency and have struggled at times. Australia and the West
Indies will be battle hardened from their recent series. The men NZ MUST
dismiss early to have any chance of winning are Mark Waugh for Australia
and Brian Lara for the West Indies. Waugh almost single-handedly won the
quarter final in the last World Cup, and Lara can be unstoppable once he
gets in. The ghost of Inzamam Ul-Haq may return to haunt New Zealand,
and Wasim Akram will sorely test the Black Caps' batting lineup.

I believe New Zealand is capable of beating at least one of these three
teams and making it through to the Super Six. But, while I'd love to see
them make the final, I see that as highly unlikely. Still, who would
have picked Sri Lanka to make the final last time, let alone win it? (I
tell you, there were a lot of Sri Lanka supporters in NZ that day! About
three million or so, to be precise!)

Well, what of other teams' chances? South Africa has shown the most
consistent form since the last World Cup, so would have be favourites at
this stage. But they looked pretty impressive last time before bowing
out in the quarter finals. They should do better than that this time.
Australia is always up there, but their one-day form has been
inconsistent, right up to the series against the West Indies, where they
couldn't string two consecutive wins together. Few people probably rate
England, but they are the host nation and certainly shouldn't be
discounted. India has been yet another inconsistent performer, but if
Sachin Tendulkar gets going on a regular basis, look out! Pakistan is
unpredictable. In 1992, they were very ordinary to begin with but came
right when it mattered. The West Indies have an excellent record in
English World Cups, and with their dramatic improvement in form after
that humiliating first test loss, they are definitely a contender.
Zimbabwe is a long shot. Last but not least - defending champion Sri
Lanka. Injuries to some of SL's best players have seen their form slump
big-time recently. Their key player (if he's fit) will probably be
Sanath Jayasuriya. Romesh Kaluwitharana is another strike force. Kenya
is the best of the rest, but would have to perform sensationally to make
the Super Six. The likes of Scotland and Bangladesh will make up the

At this stage, I'm unwilling to pick a winner. South Africa looks the
best bet at this stage, but cricket is a funny old game and the one-day
version is especially "funny"! Obviously, I'd love to see the Black Caps
pull it off, but am not that optimistic. I'll be more than happy to eat
my words if they do pull it off!

Well, that's about my lot for now. I'll be back with more comments as
the World Cup progresses, and then there's the tour of England to look
forward to. So you'll definitely be hearing a lot more of me from now

Bye for now. Go Black Caps!