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Kiwis had no strategy against Australia

If a team wants to succeed at this World Cup, they need to have a game plan. The way the Black Caps played against Australia suggested that they did not know what they were doing or how they were going to achieve a positive result.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2011 00:10 IST
Richard Hadlee

If a team wants to succeed at this World Cup, they need to have a game plan. The way the Black Caps played against Australia suggested that they did not know what they were doing or how they were going to achieve a positive result.

Yes, there was plenty of emotion before the match with a minutes' silence to remember those who had fallen in the Christchurch earthquake. Yes, they wore black armbands as a mark of respect. They listened to the national anthem knowing many Kiwis would be watching them, hoping for a win to give a grieving nation some good news. This sad event is New Zealand's darkest day in our 150-year history. I could feel for them — I had tears in my eyes as well.

I am sure all those things would have had a profound effect on the players, but the way they played raises a few issues. Should they have played the match in the first place or should they have gifted Australia two points by default? Were they mentally prepared as a team to play and perform? Were they focussed on each and every individual job that needed to be implemented well to beat a champion team? Or, should they have withdrawn from the World Cup altogether?

When they batted, there was no proper method of handling the Australian attack. Too many 'dot balls' were defended and hit to fielders. And then, it appeared the batsmen felt they had to hit a 'four' and play high-risk shots to increase the run-rate. Some players got out in the process of doing that.

There was no rotation of the strike by working the ball to fine leg, third man or gapping the ball to the left or right of the fielders.

It is well known in a 50-over match that a team, which picks up the most singles wins the game.

Someone in the top order has to bat for 40 overs to give the team a solid base. A score 250-280 plus is needed. Teams need to work out how they are going to achieve that.

Since 2009, the Black Caps' top-seven batsmen average 27 runs per innings, which is worse than Zimbabwe's top-seven. This, now, becomes an important match for the Kiwis as we play them next on March 4.

Hawkeye Communications