|I have the t-shirt!|
Then the Black Caps started batting. Unlike in some recent matches, the openers managed a reasonable stand before Raval was out for 43. Then in came Kane Williamson, and along with Tom Latham, put on an impressive stand for the second wicket – Williamson falling short of his century at 91, and kicking himself all the way back to the pavilion. Latham batted on, and at the end of the day, New Zealand were ahead. On day 3, he carried on, eventually carrying his bat for 264 and putting the Black Caps in a commanding position. Unfortunately the weather had the final say in this match, and it was drawn after very little play on day 5. Still, an impressive knock by Latham, the sixth highest in New Zealand history, and it set them up well for the second test, which they won emphatically by 423 runs.
Next up, the T20 series. We have so far been to see the Wellington Firebirds and the Wellington Blaze play two double-header matches – the women’s match starts at 12:45, and the men’s at 16:00; on the first occasion, against Otago’s Sparks and Volts. The Sparks pretty comprehensively outplayed the Blaze, particularly in the field, and as the overs dwindled, the run rate got away from them and they ended up losing by 20 runs. The men’s match was more closely fought, and with a target of 168, they needed 18 off the last two overs – eminently achievable in a T20 competition. The Volts were having none of it, however, and with some tight bowling, excellent fielding cutting off the boundaries, and three wickets falling, won by one run.
Last weekend was not just another double-header – it was free! Sponsored by Wellington City Council (so paid for by our rates, really), this time it was against the two teams from Canterbury – the Magicians and Kings. The women were set a similar target (150) to the previous week, but this time out seemed to have the better of it. They stayed on top of the run rate and achieved the total with two balls to spare. They’re currently sitting at the top of the table, although they have played one more match than most of the other teams, so we need to wait and see.
In the men's game, The Firebirds were put in to bat first. With a display of hitting from Conway, including seven sixes, they set a daunting total of 199 for the Kings. They came out fighting, and dropped two early wickets in the second over to Bennett. A bowling change in the fifth over yielded similar results, with two wickets to Sears, and Van Beek picking up the fifth at the beginning of the sixth over, and suddenly they were 40/5. Their captain, McConchie, batted on bravely, eventually amassing 83, but he kept losing partners, and the run rate got away from them. Eventually they were bowled out in the 19th over, for 135 – well short of the requirement. A convincing win for the Firebirds, putting them second on the table.
There aren’t any more double-header matches, but the men’s competition continues this Saturday, so we’ll probably go to that, weather permitting, and then in February there’s a T20 and an ODI against India, both at the Stadium. Woohoo!