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Musings from beyond the boundary – 4 June

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

A promising start to the Champions Trophy by the New Zealanders – always satisfying to see the Black Caps give Australia a fright, even if in this instance the washed out result wasn’t at all helpful to New Zealand’s quest for a semi-final berth. Tuesday in Cardiff against England will be a big occasion…

From the New Zealand point of view we probably didn’t learn a lot from the match against Australia, with the top four performing so effectively and the lower middle order again succumbing a little too easily, albeit under pressure to accelerate the closing passage of the innings.

Kane Williamson has further enhanced his reputation, Guptill included some exquisite drives in his all-too-brief cameo while Williamson and Taylor extended their fine run of ODI partnerships in England. When Taylor was out at 216/3 in the 34th over the pair were one run short of their fourth consecutive century partnership in One Day Internationals in England.

And he may have enjoyed a little luck along the way, but what a treat to see Luke Ronchi make amends at the top of the order for some of his more disappointing previous batting performances against his old team-mates.

Last week we mentioned Kumar Sangakkara’s 200 for Surrey against Essex in the English County Championship. In the second innings of that match he fell 16 runs short of joining Sir Donald Bradman, C B Fry and Mike Procter as the only batsmen to score six successive first class hundreds. However he remains in impressive company joining Sir Everton Weekes, Brian Lara, Mike Hussey, and somewhat surprisingly, the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel, who scored five successive centuries in 2007.

Neil Wagner only captured one wicket in that match but he did contribute an important half-century, the seventh of his first class career, batting almost two hours to help Essex secure a narrow first innings advantage.

Another New Zealander in action in County Cricket has been former Central Districts captain and all-rounder Kieran Noema-Barnett, who is in his third season with Gloucestershire on the basis of his British passport.  Last season Noema-Barnett’s top score was 84 against Worcestershire, sharing a partnership of 179 with Hamish Marshall. This season, most of his play has been for the Gloucestershire Seconds but he made his first appearance in the County Championship against Nottinghamshire last weekend, scoring 30 in the second innings and picked up the handy wicket of Stuart Broad. Unfortunately his efforts were in vain though, with Notts completing an innings victory.

And this weekend Warwickshire, in their first match since 2012 without Jeetan Patel, didn’t find it easy as Hampshire racked up 515 in their first innings. Warwickshire then collapsed to be 49/6. Ironically it was Patel’s replacement, 21-year-old slow left-armer Sukhjit Singh, who was the most successful bowler, taking 6/144 from 50 overs in just his third first class match.

New Zealand won the toss in that rained-out match against Australia, but there has been much hand-wringing on recent times about the Kiwis’ lack of fortune with the coin.  With that in mind I was interested to read an article in the March edition of ‘The Cricketer’ magazine about the vagaries of the toss and batting first or second.

In the 1,048 test matches played since 1990, an incredible number when you think about it, the side that lost the toss has actually won three more times than the team winning the toss. And ten more teams have won batting second, than batting first.

Since 2000 the team winning the toss has batted nearly twice as often as bowled, but in those matches the team batting first has won 36% of the time, while the team who fielded first have won on 39% of occasions.

Perhaps the next time Kane Williamson calls incorrectly in the test arena we can all afford to be a little more philosophical about the situation!

Finally, best wishes to the White Ferns who depart for England, and the World Cup, late this week. Their first match is a warm-up against India at Derby on the 19th, with the competition proper commencing five days later.

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