Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It had been a grey, drizzly day all day, so when we turned up at the Basin Reserve for the 5 o’clock match against Auckland Aces, our first question was whether there was going to be any play at all. We were told that the umpires had been out once to inspect the pitch already, and were due back out at 5:20. So we went up into the stands out of the continuing drizzle, and waited.

By 5:20, there were around a dozen people standing around in the middle of the pitch, discussing the weather and the state of the field. The sky was showing a slight sign of brightening, and eventually an announcement was made: there would be play, but it would be delayed until 6:20, and the match would be duly shortened to twelve overs an innings. Presumably they’d received some information from the Wellington weather service, as although it seemed to have stopped drizzling, there wasn’t anything to indicate it wouldn’t start again at a moment’s notice.

By 6:20 we’d had another announcement that play would now start at 6:40. It had brightened up a bit, and the commentator assured us over the PA that a patch of blue could be seen!

The covers come off

Auckland won the toss and decided to bat. They set off in frenetic style, scoring at 11 runs an over and by the end of the eighth had reached 89. Then Wellington had a purple patch of bowling, and in the next two overs took 3 wickets for the loss of only 4 runs. It looked like they might restrict Auckland to a reasonable total, but it wasn’t to be. They put their skates on again and knocked out a score of 125.

Wellington started in their usual style – slowly; they took 4 runs off the first over. This set them at a disadvantage from the start, as they were now trying to chase down 11 runs an over. Despite this, they picked up the speed and started scoring at a rate of around 8 runs – good, but not good enough, and that RRR was getting away from them. Then they hit a series of good overs in the middle of the innings, taking 13, 16 and 14 in overs 6 to 8. This put them back on top of the required rate, and they chugged along to the end. By the penultimate over they needed 17, and with the help of a big 6 and some good running between the wickets, reduced this down to a run a ball with 8 deliveries remaining. A quick single, and they needed 7 from 7. The final delivery of the over, and the ball is lofted into the air…and straight to the fielder. Fifth wicket down, and no run.

So, 7 needed from the final over – eminently gettable in a game of Twenty20, or even Twelve12. But it was half past eight, and in the last few overs the weather had worsened again – it was drizzling, and the light was murkier than a murky thing being murky. The batsman played, and missed; played, and missed; played, and missed; then managed to connect, and Wellington took two singles.

Note the low cloud, lights in tunnel, car headlights - it was a lot darker than it looks

Final ball, and Wellington still needed 5 to win! There’s only one way to hit a six, and as the ball rolled along the outfield we knew that they hadn’t done it. They managed to run 2, but that clearly wasn’t good enough and they ended losing by 2 runs.

Undoubtedly the conditions helped Auckland to victory – seeing the ball in the final overs must have been difficult. Nevertheless, we left with a feeling that Wellington had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. This drops them down to 5th in the table, with only the unfortunate Otago Volts beneath them, who have yet to win a game. It will take an almighty struggle to get back into contention, and 4 of their remaining 5 games now have to be played away from home, so we’re not sanguine about their hopes of reaching the finals. But cricket’s a funny old game, and Twenty20 even more so; we’ll keep an eye on their results, and see what happens.


  1. What an idiot, not to mention the main feature of the game - the first appearance for the Firebirds of Brett Lee, the Aussie demon fast bowler who was such a pack of trouble to England a couple of years back. He got hit for four, then six, then sent the middle stump cartwheeling with a huge delivery. The Firebirds lineup also features opening batsman Jesse Ryder, alleged to be one of NZ's most talented cricketers, but we've yet to be impressed as he keeps getting out for not much.

  2. Wow - THE Brett Lee?! That's really exciting, fancy failing to mention that. Rory obviously doesn't know his readership (or is it just me that's more interested in the gorgeous Brett Lee than in the RRR? Although of course your sports reporting is without equal Rory.) I hope you haven't also failed to mention that the totally beautiful Shane Bond plays for Wellington too!? xx

  3. Yup, that Brett Lee, see my sports photography on facebook. Shane Bond appears to play for Canterbury and as such we may have seen him when the Wizards were here, but I don't remembers, sorry ...