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Hopefully the days of Luke Ronchi's Black Caps career being a "massive bummer" are over.
Between hitting full bungers down fielders' throat and standing on his stumps, the 32-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman knew he wasn't doing himself justice in this limited-overs series against the West Indies.
Having come to New Zealand, by way of a brief career in Australia's coloured clobber, Ronchi arrived with a reputation as a dasher. Plenty of Plunket Shield attacks would attest to that, but turning domestic four-day runs into scores on the world's short-form stage was proving a challenge.
The BJ Watling Brigade were gaining voice in the background and having looked a useful pick-up for the Black Caps, Ronchi was arguably playing for his place when New Zealand met the West Indies in last Saturday's Twenty20 match at Eden Park.
Instead, his 48 not out from 25 balls provided a glimpse of what Wellington followers have seen over the past season or so and gave him some comfort going into tomorrow night's final T20 clash with the Windies at Westpac Stadium.
"It was nice to perform. Like I've said a few times, I've been feeling pretty good but just haven't had much of an opportunity and when I did I blimmin stepped on my stumps," Ronchi said.
His "hit-wicket" dismissal during the fifth one-day international wasn't the first time Ronchi had gone in that fashion, although the previous one was rather different.
"I thought the ball was going to hit them, but I ended up whopping the stumps with my bat and the ball missed them," he said.
That was an instance when Ronchi was guilty of thinking too much. He said that was a common cause of problems, which is why he felt his fortunes where on the turn when he deposited Andre Russell into the Eden Park stands on Saturday.
"That happened naturally, without thinking about it. I wasn't trying to make things up or do things I shouldn't be doing.
"When I just go out and bat, things work out a lot better for me."
Ronchi's knock helped New Zealand post a respectable 189 for five, which was 81 too many for the Windies. After the match, captain Brendon McCullum credited the 22 Ronchi took off one Sunil Narine over for getting the Black Caps to a defendable total.
But if Ronchi can read Narine's subtleties of spin, he wasn't saying.
"From keeping all the time I always watch the bowler's hand when they're coming in and see if the ball's different in their hand or their fingers are doing things.
"If you can't pick them that way then watch the ball as hard as you can when it's coming down to see which way it's spinning and if after all that you still can't pick it, you hope like heck you're going to play the right shot."
From a team point of view, Ronchi said tomorrow night was an opportunity to atone for not securing a series win in the preceding one-day matches.
"We've got to be consistent, that's the main thing. We've been a little bit up and down, but if we play well again on Wednesday that'll be a good thing for us."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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