NZ v Eng New Zealand v England

Published on March 3rd, 2018 | by Suraj Choudhari

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So close, yet so far

🕓 Reading time: 3 minutes

“Williamson remained unbeaten on 112, but looked shattered, he did the best he could have done. Despite scoring a scintillating ton and the second highest-scorer being 63 runs behind him, Williamson ended up on the losing side. He did everything right, but a little fumble, in the end, didn’t let him achieve a fruitful result”.

So close, yet so far! Kane Williamson was so close from snatching an incredible win from imminent jaws of defeat but fell short by a whisker. In the third One-Day International (ODI) against Australia at Wellington, Williamson displayed utter brilliance but failed to finish it off. This was undoubtedly one of the best innings crafted by Williamson in his ODI journey but was unlucky to not have ended on the winning side. It wasn’t for the lack of efforts, Williamson was astute in stitching a match-winning knock, but some outstanding death bowling by England and a bit of luck, saw them taking a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Williamson tried his best, scored an inspiring century, which should have been enough to hunt down a modest total of 235. But England held their nerves under the pump to deny Williamson and New Zealand a much-deserved win. It is often said, cricket gets more intense when conditions are bowling-friendly, and this match corroborates the belief.

The pitches at Wellington has been the talk of the town for a while now. There was an unexpected bounce in some areas while the ball did remain low at times and most importantly, there was enough help for the spinners. Despite the unusual nature of the surface, it did dish out an enthralling encounter, which went down the wire.

England struggled with the bat, and eventually got 234 runs on the board, which initially didn’t look enough to contain the home side. New Zealand got off to a shaky start, losing Martin Guptill in the third over. Skipper Williamson took charge and steadied the New Zealand ship with utmost care along with Colin Munro, who was riding his luck at the other end. Things looked in New Zealand’s control when these two were batting, but a surprise was just about to spring at Wellington.

English spinners turned the tide with five wickets under their belt in the middle. New Zealand lost five wickets for just 23 runs and were precariously placed at 103 for six inside 25 overs. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali spun a series of web around Kiwi batsmen and turned the game on its head. Williamson stood like a mountain at one end while wickets kept tumbling at the other. He was running out of partners as England were tightening the noose around New Zealand, but showed good composure and placed his innings sensibly.

Mitchell Santner continued his good form and played well for his 41, but a straight drive from Williamson caught Woakes’ fingertips onto the non-striker’s stumps to end southpaw’s innings. The duo resurrected New Zealand’s run-chase with 96 runs from 21 overs after a middle-order collapse. Williamson continued his good run and also became the fifth-fastest batsman to have reached the 5000 ODI runs mark, but the job was not yet done.

After Santner’s dismissal, New Zealand needed 36 off 28 deliveries and the onus of getting those crucial runs was on Williamson. He was the only recognised batsman at the crease and had to finish off the game for his side. Tim Southee scored a boundary but Woakes did well in setting him up to play a mistimed pull.

Williamson shifted gears and on the first delivery of the penultimate over, he smashed a boundary to bring up his 11th ODI ton. Tom Curran recovered well and produced two dot deliveries to Williamson, which was real gold at that moment. New Zealand needed 15 runs off the final over with Williamson on strike.

Woakes brought all his experience into play and did well in defending 15 runs. He produced a dot ball off the first delivery and then went for two on the second one. Just when things were slipping out of control, Williamson plundered a much-needed six over mid-wicket. With seven needed off the final three, many expected Williamson to pull this one off. He did a smart thing by taking a two off the next delivery and the equation was now 5 off 2.

Williamson missed out on a juicy full toss on the penultimate delivery. He tried to loft it over mid-off, but didn’t manage to get any timing on this one and resulted in a dot ball. Woakes produced a deadly final ball to rule a maximum out of the equation.

Williamson remained unbeaten on 112, but looked shattered, he did the best he could have done. Despite scoring a scintillating ton and the second highest-scorer being 63 runs behind him, Williamson ended up on the losing side. He did everything right, but a little fumble, in the end, didn’t let him achieve a fruitful result. So close, yet so far.

 

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About the Author

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Suraj Choudhari is a freelance sports journalist. He is an avid follower of the game and played the sport at club level. With a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, he tries to express it through paper and pen.



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