Musings from Beyond the Boundary – 30 July

Musings from beyond the boundary – cricketing thoughts through the eyes of Trevor Auger, an Auckland Cricket Society and Supporters Club Member.

Two additional names added over the past week to the list of Aces players contracted for the forthcoming season.

The first is well known, Craig Cachopa returning to the fold after spells with Sussex and Wellington.  Cachopa was encouraged to try his luck with Sussex in 2014 by Luke Wright, while Wright was playing in New Zealand. Although born in South Africa and resident in New Zealand, Cachopa’s Portuguese Passport enabled him to qualify for English first class cricket (a loophole which Brexit may serve to close).

He made a promising start, with five half-centuries in his first five outings in the County Championship, but his form in the following seasons was less fulfilling and he negotiated an early release from his contract at the end of 2016.

He is a former New Zealand Under-19 Captain and still just 25 years old he averages 36.6 in 43 first class matches. Add in an average of 26.4 (including two centuries) in 57 List A games and 27.5 in 70 T20 encounters and Cachopa will be a very useful addition to the Aces this season, not least for the experience he brings.

The other is Waitakere left arm opening bowler Ben Lister who is just 21, and who experienced success with the new ball in his limited appearances last season for Auckland A, building on his club form where he took 19 two-day competition wickets at 14.3 with best figures of 6/56.  He also averaged 23.1 with the bat, enjoying a top score of 45, so he could prove a very handy player in the lower order.

These two weren’t the only Aucklanders in the news this week, with Mitchell McClenaghan a late call-up to the St Lucia Stars in the Caribbean Premier League, which gets under way next weekend. He joins Auckland team-mates Martin Guptill and Colin Munro in this competition, Guptill a key player for the Guyana Amazon Warriors and Munro heading to Port of Spain and the Trinidad and Tobago Riders.

Other New Zealanders in the CPL include Kane Williamson at the Barbados Tridents and Jesse Ryder, who will be with McClenaghan in the St Lucia line-up, while Brendon McCullum leaves behind Middlesex and the NatWest T20 Blast to join Munro at the Trinidad and Tobago Riders.

McCullum warmed up for the Caribbean last week with a 28-ball 63, with 6 fours and 5 sixes, helping Middlesex to a win against Essex, and followed that up with a handy 15-ball innings of 26 in a washed out match against Sussex.

The weather has upset a number of the recent T20 matches in England, but several of the New Zealanders have continued to prosper. Most satisfying from an Auckland perspective was seeing Colin de Grandhomme hitting his straps for the Birmingham-based Warwickshire side. Promoted up the batting order he responded with a 28-ball unbeaten 65 with 5 fours and 5 sixes against Derbyshire. Matt Henry suffered in the assault, conceding an unrewarded 43 runs from his 4 overs. The Birmingham Wellingtonians were then instrumental in bowling Warwickshire to success, with Grant Elliott claiming 4/37 and Jeetan Patel 1/26.

Jimmy Neesham started the week with a 30-ball unbeaten 51 with 5 sixes, as well as grabbing the big wicket of Luke Wright, as Kent and Sussex played out a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted tie. For Sussex, last season’s Ace Tymal Mills claimed 1/26 from his four overs.

And in the most astonishing innings of the week Luke Ronchi scored English T20’s equal third-fastest fifty as Leicestershire’s match with Durham was reduced by the weather to seven overs a side. Opening for Leicestershire Ronchi finished on 63 not out off 21 balls, in a seven over score of 88/2. 58 of those 63 runs came from shots to, or over, the boundary. Unfortunately his efforts were in vain as Durham snuck through to win the game.

It was reassuring to see Matt Henry pick up 3/37 as Derbyshire beat Lancashire, as he has not had a happy time with the ball thus far in the competition, proving costly, and not particularly penetrative.

For Nottinghamshire Ish Sodhi continues to pick up handy wickets, while at Worcestershire Mitch Santner is proving a very useful acquisition.  He continues to score useful middle order runs, averaging 23.2 but with a top score of just 37, and heads his team’s bowling averages with 6 wickets at 24.8 and an economy rate of 6.2, comfortably his team’s best. In recent matches he has found himself opening the bowling with some success.

The wet weather stayed away from the Women’s World Cup Final at Lord’s and for India there was to be no fairy tale finish to their remarkable run through the tournament. In a finale befitting the success of the tournament, England staged a remarkable comeback to snatch an unlikely victory and maintain their unbeaten record in home Women’s World Cups.

England had battled to 228/7 from their 50 overs, with only Natalie Sciver, with 51, reaching a half-century. India were cruising to victory at 191/3 with 8.2 overs left when opener Punam Rout fell, lbw to Anya Shrubsole for 86, and that proved the fatal blow. Shrubsole, who had earlier claimed the other opener Smriti Mandhana, went on to finish with 6/46 from 9.4 overs as India were all out for 219 with eight balls left in the match.

Shrubsole, a 25 year-old swing bowler, had made her Somerset debut when she was just 12 years old. She has a very impressive international record which began with her T20 debut performance against South Africa in 2008, when she took 3/19.

In Wellington in 2012 she bettered that with 5/11 against New Zealand, the best bowling performance in T20 internationals by an English player, male or female. In the Perth test against Australia in 2014 she had match figures of 7/99. Shortly after that she was the top wicket-taker in that year’s Women’s World T20, and again it was India who suffered the most as she snatched 3/6 against them.

Now she has the best bowling figures by an English player in a World Cup Final…