In the recent T20 match between Australia and NZ we witnessed one of the most amazing run chases that in the end, Australia probably should have won. Stoinis and Sams were unbelievable on a small ground and were scoring at almost 3 runs per ball, simply incredible. Probably the biggest talking points out of the game was both teams inability to execute under pressure and the scoring slump of Aaron Finch. I’ll touch on the bowling side first.
For those of you who sit in their arm chairs and say, “They just need to hit a yorker”. I totally agree and to be honest it’s probably the best ball to bowl in the situations. The problem these days is unless you get the yorker inch perfect, it’s getting ramped, or off the toe of the bat for 4, or reverse ramped or slogged for 6. There is no substitute for that execution but other factors come into play when you are under pressure. The size of the ground, who you are bowling against, the conditions and then how you are actually coping with these thoughts. It’s a game of bat v ball but it’s more of a game of bluff v skill v execution. Sometimes as a bowler you are trying to stay one step ahead of the batter. Whether that is a slower bumper, or off pace yorker, or bouncer or even yorker, I think you can confuse yourself and in the end, don’t execute anything near what you are trying to do. Personally at the top of your mark all you can do is what you can influence. Set your field with your skipper, pick a spot on the wicket where you are going to bowl, then do your best to block out the noise and execute. If the batter executes better then kudos to them, but they have to play an amazing shot to make it happen. Otherwise, you are in for a tough time!
Aaron Finch! Arguably one of Australia’s best T20 and ODI batsmen going around. I have been very fortunate to play alongside and against him and there wouldn’t be a team in the world who doesn’t want to get him out quickly for fear of letting him get away. He is damaging and very dangerous. He can turn a game on it’s head! I hate the word form slump. Sometimes you are out to quickly to even know what form is. Sometimes you might get 3 bad decisions in a row, while still hitting the ball well. NZ’s opening bowlers are two of the best exponents of the swinging ball and Finchy has always had a bit of an issue against good swing bowling, who hasn’t. Yes there are plenty of players waiting in the wings to have a crack at opening the batting and their time will come. My belief (it means not much) is that Finchy will come good and he will never look back. He averages what he does for a reason. He has done it over a long period of time. Yes there comes a time in everyone’s career when it is time to hang them up and move on. He is still young and has a lot to offer Australian cricket. It will turn and when it does, Australia will win the T20 World Cup, that’s my belief!
Moving on to the latest test between India and England. Really, what can you say about that wicket. Ridiculous to be honest. Yes both teams batted on it but it’s not great for the game to see a test not last 2 days. Both teams have some amazing cricketers and to see some of the dismissals was outright ludicrous. I believe that the team that loses the toss should bet the benefit of changing their side after the toss. That way when you go to places like India and even England if you get sent in or are made to field first in batting friendly conditions, you can add an extra batter or an even bowler. England actually won the toss and were in a position in the first innings to set a decent total, that cost them the match. I always remember when I played test cricket, Punter would often say that you can’t win a test in a session, but you can lose it. In my opinion that was England’s issue on the first day. A lot has already been made of Axar and the way he bowls. Yep he is very tall but I would be surprised if he did any good on Australian wickets. I do also think that England played him in a way that it encouraged him to bowl quicker and more at the pegs. I felt that they could have batted on leg a bit more and played for the straight one instead of the spin. Very rarely did you see someone get caught off a nick but you did see a lot of people getting bowled because the ball skidded on. Probably the toughest conditions I have ever seen to be honest. Let’s hope the next test lasts a little longer than 2 days!