We made an early start back to Wellington on Tuesday morning as we wanted to get home and then get back out again to go to the basin reserve, there to see the Wellington Firebirds take on the Central Stags in a a game of Twenty20 cricket. It was a lovely day for it, with sun shining and only a few clouds in the sky, but noticeably cooler than in Wairarapa the previous day (where I later found out temperatures had reached 32˚C).
One of the highlights of the game was watching Muttiah Murilatharan, who has joined the Firebirds as their overseas player this season. He duly went on to take 3 for 18, and the Firebirds bowled out the opposition for 155 in the final over, setting an eminently achievable target of 156 to win. Unfortunately they’d lost wicket keeper and batsman Gerry Ryder in the second over of the match, so their batting order was under pressure from the start; and with an entirely preventable run-out, had soon fallen to 49 for 4. Now, run-outs are nearly always foolish, but to make the distance but not have your bat grounded seems like a big mistake to me.
As the bowling ground on, the required run rate stretched further away from them – 8 an over, 10 an over, 12 an over, and with wickets falling regularly they were bowled out with the final ball, 25 runs shy of the target. This is, regrettably, to be expected of the Firebirds, who aren’t the greatest team, and don’t seem to be able to make the big overs needed to get ahead of the run rate. Whilst some of their batsmen did seem to get stuck into the bowling, too often the ball seemed to go straight to the fielders, so what looked like a good strike of the ball ended up with one run added to the total.
They’re playing another home game today, against unbeaten-so-far (and last year’s winners) Auckland Aces. I don’t fancy their chances much.