We McCullumed them at the real World Cup, and now they've Royed us at the T20 World Cup - the only solace is that we could watch the most painful parts of the surgical dismemberment in fast forward before the sun came up.

England and Wales were frustratingly impressive - showing a disappointing amount of resilience and a staggering amount of confidence. With all of the ICC backroom politics around The Big Three, there would have been something oh-so-sweet about New Zealand and the West Indies making this final, and India, England and Australia relegated to the stands in their sensible slacks.

Should the scary fee-fi-fo-fum that is Tim Southee have been included to generate the blood of some Englishmen? Should Sodhi and Santner have done a Dipak in the opening overs? Should Corey have hit that full toss to the Taj Mahal? Micro-questions that look clever in hindsight, but we shouldn't forget how much we did right in this tournament.



So when do we get to keep riding this wave? Unfortunately, not soon. The Black Caps' next game is yonks away - and it's a 19 August Test match in Durban versus South Africa.

Let's commence our prayers imploring that things go better than day one last time we were in the Republic: the batting scores that day were 1, 7, 13, 0, 8, 0, 1, 2, 5, 1 and 0* for a cataclysmic 45 all out. Hushed tones. That was also the day that the makeover and renaissance of the New Zealand team officially began, as McCullum, Hesson and Sandle pressed the reset button: "We looked at each other and sort of went: Well, we've got that out of the way, let's strip everything away and start again."


Stellar work from Ed Stainsby on the sosh med this week. I think if you drew a Venn diagram of cricket fans and Star Trek fans there would be a significant amount of overlap. Shane Warne would say we needed some Captain Kirk or intergalactic assistance in Delhi, preferably in the last 5 overs of our batting effort.


Hamish McDougall sent through this wee gem of a short film and his review is succinct: "A couple of cracking cameos by Chris Pringle and a ball-tampering Willie Watson."

It is 657 seconds of amazing: Watson is resplendent in his Bank of New Zealand Test shirt and Pringle is operating yellow zinc and a DB Draught hat. Cicada-laden Cornwall Park looks amazing and there are plenty of familiar faces - Ian Hughes, John Leigh, Mike Mizrahi, Harry Sinclair, Willy de Wit - and one cricketing knight's dulcet tones.

Bradman was directed by Peter Tait and features Paul Kelly's great musical homage to The Don too.


A new T20 league was announced this week: The Hong Kong T20 Blitz will be played in late May. And even better there are four franchises up for sale: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon City, Sha Tin and Lantau. (That third one is absolutely asking for scatological trouble.)

Ownership to be determined by 'silent bid auction' and the reserve for each franchise is HK$50,000 which is around NZ$9300. Sounds like a bargain to me.


Absolute gold from Victorian wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb in the Sheffield Shield final - how many times have you wanted to see a batsman pull this off? See the ball, hit the ball, repeat. Worth noting that the appeal for obstructing the field or bruised bowler's ego from Travis Head was politely declined by the umpire too. Unsurprisingly, with form like that Handscomb thumped 112 and 61 not out to land the man of the match bubbles too.

Handscomb had a better week than his team's ball-tampering bowling coach Mick Lewis, who copped a $2,266 fine and incurred his team a 5-run penalty after his moronic concrete-scuffing actions. He also tarnished the final and walked into a tsunami of abuse from outraged former players, most of whom said it was "absolutely disgraceful".

Late bloomer Lewis still holds the world record for the most runs conceded in a one-day international: 10 overs, 0 maidens, none for 113 against South Africa in that infamous 434 vs 438 match back in 2006. Lewis snaffled that unenviable record from our very own Martin Colin Snedden who is now in the bronze medal position for his 12-1-105-2 against Allan Lamb mostly, back in 1983.


READ: Anagha Rajadhyaksha on being a female cricketer in India: "Here's a plea to sports lovers, decision makers, lawmakers, sports associations and the like to act, encourage and support our sportswomen so as to ensure there are more out there representing us and fewer out here writing a piece on how they wish they could have!"

LISTEN: Freddie Flintoff has fallen back in love with cricket, and was recently elected as the president of the Professional Cricketers Association in the UK. "I look back at my career and wish that I had the head on my shoulders that I've got now, when I was approaching the game then..."

READ: Dan McGrath's profile of Wellington stalwart Chris Nevin: "There was no 'Summer of Nevin' in Wellington. There was no glamorous final series, no record-breaking slogged century. There were (thankfully) no critical Mark Reason op-eds. Nobody knew that this would be the end of Chris Nevin. Not even Nevin himself."

CHEERS: To the Alternative Commentary Collective for their nomination for a NZ Radio Award for 'Best Sports Presenter/Commentator'. A ridiculous and ridiculously proud moment for seven caravan-dwelling, cricket-loving punishers.

WATCH: Afghanistan vanquished the West Indies in a massive upset, doubling down on their victory over Zimbabwe earlier in the tournament. They do a good celebration in Kabul, especially when their team returns with some wins. It was poor form for Windies captain Darren Sammy not to acknowledge the Afghanistanis' efforts, instead attributing the loss to his team's crapness on the day. I especially enjoyed the Gayle-esque post-victory pelvic thrusting from the men in blue.

Middle & Leg is a cricket newsletter for New Zealand cricket fans who like a dose of optimism and a tablespoon of take the piss with their weekly cricket informational. It is tapped out by Paul Ford, co-founder of the Beige Brigade, and one-seventh of The Alternative Commentary Collective . You can email him here beigehq@beigebrigade.co.nz .