Cricket: Heavy ODI loss seen as timely reminder

By David Leggat

Bowlers must attack when on back foot or sides like India will own us, says Bond

Captain Dwayne Bravo played a major part in the West Indies' sizzling win at Seddon Park on Wednesday, hitting 106 runs off 81 balls to put his seal on the ODI series. Photo / Christine Cornege
Captain Dwayne Bravo played a major part in the West Indies' sizzling win at Seddon Park on Wednesday, hitting 106 runs off 81 balls to put his seal on the ODI series. Photo / Christine Cornege

Amid the wreckage of New Zealand's bowling display at Seddon Park, it was difficult finding a positive to take away from Hamilton.

However, bowling coach Shane Bond did, after a fashion. Having seen the West Indies take apart the New Zealand attack to the tune of over seven runs an over, Bond cast an eye a few days forward.

"We've got an even stronger batting lineup going to hit this country shortly," he said, referring to world No 1 ODI team India's arrival on Monday. "We've seen the damage they can do if they get going. If we allow good batters to bring the game to us we're in trouble."

Translation: this was a giant, and timely, wakeup call.

Bond, the former champion quick, spent yesterday running over the tape of the West Indies' sizzling batting performance, in which opener Kieran Powell (73 off 44 balls), Kirk Edwards (123 not out off 108 balls) and captain Dwayne Bravo (106 off 81 balls) ripped New Zealand apart.

Unless you were in the New Zealand camp, it was rich entertainment. The West Indies smeared 41 fours and nine sixes in the 50 overs. In the first 12 overs, when lefthander Powell was laying the groundwork, he and Johnson Charles hit 15 fours and two sixes.

From overs 41-45, Edwards and Bravo took 13, 15, 13, 21 and 13 runs - 75 off 30 balls.

Captain Brendon McCullum admitted he was angry and frustrated by the bowling effort. "We can't bowl as badly as what we did [in Hamilton] again. Normally you might get one or two maybe have an off day, but if we're honest all of us were off [on Wednesday]," he said.

Bond's personal philosophy, perhaps as befitting one of the country's fastest and most penetrative bowlers, is to maintain an attacking mindset even when things appear to be slipping away.

"When you're put under pressure, what you can do is rather than try to get batsmen out, all you do is try to restrict the runs."

The West Indies don't possess the longest batting lineup going around, but with Edwards and Bravo set - Powell already having given the bowlers some serious tap earlier - Bond's impression was a case of damage control set in, bowling wide yorkers and hoping to avoid a towelling.

"We ended up going at 12 an over. I'm not a big fan of just bowling not to get players out.

"The quickest way to slow the run rate down is take wickets. Yeah, you might travel [get hammered] by trying to take wickets, but people were travelling anyway by trying not to.

"I'd much rather take an approach of looking to take wickets and I thought we didn't do that."

Bond felt New Zealand's bowlers didn't fight back once the Windies had control.

"When you're put on the back foot there comes a point where you have to try and push back. We never made that push, they got momentum and never gave us a sniff. That was disappointing."

Left armer Mitchell McClenaghan, in runs-per-over terms, was the costliest bowler on Wednesday, yet his ODI record is outstanding, 43 wickets at 20 apiece in 18 games. Bond praised his attitude to trying to make things happen.

"I personally believe you've got to be able to show some courage, take a few chances and be prepared to have a go in some respects.

"One thing Mitchell has done exceptionally well is be prepared to change his length, mix it up.

"It doesn't work all the time, but he's picked up wickets constantly because he's asked different questions of batsmen."

Whatever the reason for the bowling blowout - and the pitch was a belter, with a fast outfield, not to downplay the ferocity of the West Indian batting either - Bond is right: days like that tend to focus the mind.

And India, with their batting clobbering machine, should help that process too.

- NZ Herald

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