Like cricket fans the length and breadth of the country, I have been avidly following the India-NZ series. It has come at a great time, with a Blackcaps team on the rise, India ascendant as the dominant international cricket power, and the World Cup just around the corner.
Michael Wood with Black Caps captain Ken Williamson at a sponsor meet & greet event
I attended the ODI in Mt Maunganui, but sadly we Auckland cricket fans have only had the opportunity to attend one local game, this being Friday night’s T20 match which was a sell-out. To ensure that people had the opportunity to follow the game with other fans I organised a fundraiser event at the Post Office Public Bar in Mangere.
It was a great night with people in attendance from across the Kiwi-Indian community, and while the game was a very clear victory to India, there were some great moments along the way. De Grandhomme and Taylor combined for a fiery partnership that gave the Blackcaps some hope of a winning total, while Pant and Sharma delivered the goods for India with batting that was explosive at times, but always controlled.
But the big takeaway from this match and the series as a whole was the quality of the Indian bowling attack. Indian teams have always had powerful batting lineups but have often lacked control and penetration in the bowling ranks. Not so with this team – Shami, Yadav, and the rest of the lineup were generally successful in frustrating a quality NZ batting card, playing in their own conditions.
My thanks go to the Labour Indian Origin Branch for organising the event on Friday night, and the Post Office Public Bar for hosting us. The beauty of cricket is that the game can be appreciated whatever the result for your favoured team, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the match. Roll on Bangladesh, and then the World Cup!