Mattress, Martin and Murali

Last updated 08:45 22/03/2011

Well that was pretty bloody disappointing. When we got a flukey wicket early with Tharanga run out at the non-striker's end after a deflection, the omens looked good. With Mills resting and Vettori incapacitated, we would take anything less than 280 and back ourselves to get close with the bat. But it was a horror show - another one. We've mastered this against Sri Lanka, having lost six of our last seven against them and only managing to crack 220 once in that sequence.

What was the third umpire thinking with that Nathan McCullum caught and bowled? A really shoddy piece of umpiring. The chap involved, Amiesh Saheba, is no stranger to controversy or getting things wrong - he was the umpire who criticised Sreesanth (remember "Slapgate"?) then denied it, despite a reporter capturing the interview and the verbal slapping on tape. I think I'd rather have the commentators make the call: at least we get to hear them talk us through their decisions.

I was thinking that having partners and kids arrive on the players' doorsteps just before the momentum-killer that was the Sri Lanka match might not be a good thing, but then you read a piece like this where Paul Collingwood's kids say: "'We hope you lose tomorrow, daddy. Then you can come home." I think the benefits of having family nearby outweigh the badness.

"I knew I hit it, but as always I wait for the umpire to give me out. That's the way I've always played the game." For the record, and it pains me, I'm with Ricky Ponting on this one. Trusting the fielder's word was a nice idea before referrals and million-dollar paydays but it feels a little antiquated this week. A batsman's entitled to the benefit of any doubt and if he has reason to question his outness, he's entitled to stand his ground. The incompetence here was the umpire's and nothing to do with the batsman. Of course, it makes Sachin Tendulkar a complete legend for walking instantly when he feathered a jaffa from Rampaul on Sunday night - don't get me wrong, I thought that was fantastic, but it's not compulsory. With video technology as an option for both teams, the sort of moronic mistakes that denied McCullum the wicket should never happen.

I admit I cringed a little when I was 10 feet up a ladder painting the house on Saturday morning and none other than Martin Crowe was on the wireless, talking cricket in between raving on about totally awesome coffee machines. He dredged up the hoary old "Murali is a chucker" argument, and pinned the loss on this. Admittedly, Crowe has been blistering against Murali for a long time, so his criticism is certainly credible and not knee-jerk. However, the grapes would have appeared a little less sour if he had unleashed the day before the spanking rather than the day after. As he said at Lord's back in 2006: "I don't care about 15 degrees here or 10 degrees there. If to the naked eye a bowler is chucking, he should be chucked out."

On the night, Murali bowled damn well for an old bloke with a sore hamstring, but let's remember that Guptill got out to Kulasekera, B McCullum was sunk by all-rounder and budding superstar Angelo Mathews, and Nathan McCullum was bamboozled by part-timer Dilshan. None are even part of the Lankan "triple M threat" club.

The Mattress McCullum "caught & bowled that wasn't" was not the best caught and bowled ever. And it was definitely not the coolest - that was always going the way of the West Indies. In fact, it wasn't even the best caught and bowled by a New Zealander.


I was glad to see that Sir Richard landed the red apples to India gig, not Billy Bowden, though there is a sort of "selling ice cubes to Eskimos" undertone to this article. Dennis Lillee, Heath Davis and Joey Yovich might have also been contenders for the frontman role, having all bowled apples in first-class cricket at one time or another. Sir Richard would never have engaged in such frivolities, I am sure.

It is not all doom and gloom though - we must dare to dream about Friday night, given our insanely good record against South Africa at World Cups. More on that later in the week...

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Post a comment
Mike W   #1   09:11 am Mar 22 2011

Don't forget that Saheba was also the umpire that strangely denied Vettori a crucial (and match-defining) wicket in India when some Indian batsman got a massive inside edge carried to fielder dead plumb in front of the stumps. Was cursing my lungs out with that retarded call, along with several other very dubious calls over the three games he officiated. I was thinking at the time of Nathan's catch being declined that "wouldn't it be funny and ironic if it was Saheba was third umpire" When I found he actually was I wasn't laughing. Gambling man perhaps?

MDC   #2   09:45 am Mar 22 2011

Get over the coffeee machines plug, it pays the bills and is no different to Nature Bee plugs or 'Cricket by the National Bank'. Stick to your point which is we got hammered by Murali and co and we shouldnt complain, to which I quite agree. My point, which by the way did not include the word 'chucker' as the ICC has ruled that out lately, was that he was crippled with a hammie strain and yet could still work his magic by the flick of his arm, 'an advantage no other bowler in the history of cricket has enjoyed'. It was simply a shock to sit there and witness it. I finished the interview by adding we were very poor. Then I plugged the coffee as the positive of the morning. Did you really hear the whole interview?

The Holden   #3   10:09 am Mar 22 2011

MDC: I sure did, 10 feet up a ladder swinging a paint brush. I enjoyed the interview, my point was more that I'd rather hear MDC make this point before the game rather than after (not your fault if nobody calls you until after the game)...

johnny utah   #4   10:14 am Mar 22 2011

you think we're a chance against SA?!! you must dreaming. SA bat first making 347-6. NZ all out for 113.

Lex Coiner   #5   10:42 am Mar 22 2011

I'm looking forward to Brendan McMatchwinner ummm...winning us some matches. So far he's bullied minnows and not passed 16 against Test playing nations.

Brocky   #6   10:43 am Mar 22 2011

didnt see the game, but agree with MDC. sounds similar to that time aktar bowled in NZ from a half run up (due to injury) and still somehow managed 150km's. How is that possible? Why did we change the rules for one man????

Economist   #7   10:44 am Mar 22 2011

@MDC - still grumpy much? I think you've missed the point about why Holden was cringing - it was the Murali chucking thing (at least the implicit assertion), not the coffee machine. After the BC's poor performance the night before, I'd be more willing to talk about coffee machines as well!

Can't believe that with the technology available (or, at this World Cup, mostly not available), that we're still getting glaringly stupid decisions like that McCullum catch. Aaargh.

I don't like our chances against the Africans - and given that we've alternate between making and not making the semis since 1987, it must be time for us to go home. I hope I'm proven wrong...

Bevan   #8   10:45 am Mar 22 2011

If the best batsman of our generation can walk, then it's good enough for me. If that agro George Bush Jr look-alike wants to cheat then karma will eventually catch up with him. Very very soon I would wager.

Jez   #9   11:16 am Mar 22 2011

@ Brocky #6 - Akhtar was a shoulder bowler. He may have been running hard into the crease recently, but when he was younger he'd just lope in and bowl. He was an amazingly powerful bowler and watching him at the Basin was special.. even if he destroyed us.

I think NZ have attained par for this World Cup given form in recent months. Making the quarterfinals was all any of us could have expected. The pressure shouldn't be on for the South African match, though it no doubt will be. I'd love to see our boys with no weight on their shoulders and playing the way they did at domestic level to ever make this team in the first place.

IF we manage to beat South Africa it will be a special little miracle and long celebrated because they are not only a great side, but I think they are one of the all time great South African sides.

Winning or even competing will be beyond expectation. Here's to our lads giving it everything, riding their luck and sticking it to the saffers.

DBA   #10   11:26 am Mar 22 2011

@ bevan #8 Your entitled to your perspective on walking but for every decision that goes a batsman way there is one that doesn't. At the end of the day the Umpiring team are the sole judges of fact on the cricket field. If the don't see or hear the edge then it didn't happen. Ricky Ponting may well be desended from convicts and push the rules to the limits but I think its rough to label him a cheat because he doesn't walk.

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