Rutherford relishes re-run at Seddon Park

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 06:41 14/03/2014
Ken Rutherford
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'92 CUP PLAYER: Ken Rutherford.

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Another match-winning innings of the Ken Rutherford ilk would see Black Caps fans leave Seddon Park happy this time next year.

The New Zealand side will meet Bangladesh in Hamilton in their 2015 Cricket World Cup pool match on Friday, March 13, and the home supporters will be wanting to see a repeat of the 1992 match at the same venue, where New Zealand continued their steamrolling path to the semifinals.

In their second match of the competition, New Zealand scored a six-wicket win with 10 balls remaining, chasing down Sri Lanka's 206 for nine off 50 overs.

Rutherford top-scored for the victors with an unbeaten 65 off 71 balls, including six fours and a six, and has fond memories of the clash.

''We'd come from Eden Park where we'd beaten the Aussies, much to everyone's surprise - including ourselves probably.

''All of a sudden, the expectation went from zero to a quite high.''

''All due respect to Sri Lanka, but in those days they weren't really a powerhouse. But they had guys like [Asanka] Gurusinha, Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga, so they were still capable of beating anyone on the day.

''It was a game we felt we should win, but a potential banana skin. I remember chasing down the total with about 10 balls to spare, and being there at the end, so I must have got a couple.''

New Zealand won seven successive matches before suffering a traumatic loss in their Eden Park semifinal against Pakistan in a showing that gripped the country.

''I'm sure that's what Mike Hesson and Brendon McCullum will be looking to generate next year - that whole feeling of the country coming together and getting right behind you,'' Rutherford said.

''It was started with the win at Eden Park and rolled along at Hamilton.''

New Zealand utilised the slower-paced wickets here with a lineup stacked with ''dibbly-dobbly'' medium pacers and off-spinner Dipak Patel opening the bowling. 

Willie Watson took 3-37 off 10 overs in Hamilton against Sri Lanka, while Gavin Larsen, Chris Harris and Rod Latham were among the other NZ bowlers.

Rutherford felt it could pay to employ similar tactics in preparing wickets next year, but felt the day/night games scheduled for Hamilton might negate the effects of the pitch.

''I think the way Brendon McCullum wants to play his cricket is to chase down whatever total is put before him,'' he said.

''We have so many fine strokeplayers these days that even if we got in a situation where we need 50 off the last 10 overs, they'd back themselves to get that.''

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Rutherford said while many NZ cricket fans still looked back fondly on the '92 Cup side - possibly due to the shared agony of losing the semifinal when skipper Martin Crowe fell injured and the Pakistan duo of Javed Miandad and Inzamam ul Haq spearheaded the visitors home - ''the feeling of massive disappointment has continued to this day''.

''If you ask the players who played in that World Cup for us what the most disappointing moment was in their whole career, I think they'd be pretty consistent in what they say.''

Rutherford is now based in Hamilton, working as Waikato Racing Club's general manager, and said he'd be making plans to be at Seddon Park next year for the Cup games.

His son Hamish was currently the Black Caps test opener and a contender for next year's Cup side, along with Rod Latham's son Tom.

Cricket World Cup NZ boss Therese Walsh said sales for the Black Caps' game against Bangladesh were strong but tickets were still available for that encounter and the two other pool matches at the venue - South Africa v Zimbabwe on February 15 and India v Ireland on March 10.

- Waikato Times

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