Cricket: Sri Lanka go out waving their boarding passes

The Black Caps celebrates winning the Twenty20 international series against Sri Lanka. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
The Black Caps celebrates winning the Twenty20 international series against Sri Lanka. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

Sri Lanka's batsmen struck an eyes-bigger-than-bats feeling yesterday in the final T20 when they found Eden Park's straight boundaries about as close as the washing line in some New Zealand backyards.

There's a sense players are almost tense with the anticipation of bouncing a ball into the trampoline of black sacking beyond the sightscreen.

Then balls hold up on the drop-in pitch, and fielders circle to collect the remnants of another stunted innings.

The visitors, aside from captain Angelo Mathews' 81 from 49 balls, capitulated in exactly that manner.

Most of the shots looked like end-of-tour specials. It wouldn't have surprised if an airport departures board was being perused in the dressing room.

Seven of their eight dismissals involved batsmen attempting unsuccessful heaves down the ground. None of the Sri Lankan septet were able to score more than eight runs.

The stands become mirages to lure greedy swatters on the ground's horizon. The phenomenon hasn't affected T20s as much as ODIs in the last four years.

Contrary to yesterday, most T20s finish with teams scoring more than eight-an-over.

Compare that with ODIs where the team batting first has scored between 151 and 222 in five of the last eight Eden Park contests. The most celebrated was the World Cup pool match between New Zealand and Australia last February, when Kane Williamson delivered a one-wicket victory with a six in the 24th over.

"In the games I've played here, there seems to be a consistent flow of wickets, which stems the run rate," Williamson said.

"You expect to get 300 [in ODIs], yet push the boat out rather than consolidating a little. If the wicket's holding up, which it did today, you can have those big [wicket-taking] overs because the boundaries are so small.

"It can create an illusion. When you come here, you expect too much from the batting effort, rather than having control and exceeding expectations."

The Auckland-based Munro concurred, ironically after making a 50 in 14 balls, the second fastest in T20s behind Yuvraj Singh's 12-ball effort.

"Guys see those straight boundaries for the first time and look to go there rather than playing decent cricket shots. They try to overclub," Munro said.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 26 Sep 2016 14:12:29 Processing Time: 276ms