New Zealand at the brink of a semi-final spot

Sri Lanka all but out of the Champions Trophy. Notes on Boult, Ferguson, Perera and Theekshana.

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New Zealand managed to ruin the hopes of huge parts of Asia. Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy is probably the most obvious one, but Afghanistan and Pakistan also took a beating here. As it stands, Pakistan need to beat England by 274 runs. Earlier in the World Cup that might have been possible.

We didn’t get the dead rubbers, but we still ended up with our semi-finalists. Unless England can shit the bed, light it on fire, eat it, and then vomit it back out. And if there is a World Cup that might happen, it would appear to be this one.

Trent Boult takes early wickets (SAK)

Trent Boult started taking powerplay wickets again. With Matt Henry out, I think it’s pretty unlikely that New Zealand win the World Cup without Boult taking early wickets. He didn’t take a lot of powerplay wickets in the 2019 World Cup either. It’s a couple of times now, yet outside of that, no one seems to be able to hit him.

He is the first New Zealand bowler to take 50 wickets in World Cups, and the 6th overall. I talked about him and Starc being all-time greats, and how they needed another great World Cup to seal that status. I think he has been pretty decent in this tournament, especially with the knuckleball. You’ve got Boult, Southee, Ferguson, Henry and Santner in the top 10 - a golden age of New Zealand bowling.

Ferguson’s two-ball play (JK)

Sri Lanka tried their 99th number eight in this tournament if I recall correctly. And so this game we had Chamika Karunaratne there today. That made this happen.

So what Ferguson did was a really nice pattern. He went around the wicket and dropped one in short. Then he moved over the wicket and went fast and full. Earning himself a caught behind with no lateral movement, just a change of angle, change of length. That is the Lockie Ferguson we used to see.

Devon Conway’s inside edges (JK)

Devon Conway gets a lot of inside edges. I think it might be one reason that he is actually so good in the wobble ball world. Because usually that decks away from a left-handers edge. But he bats with his blade outside the line.

Conway has the most inside edges of any player. I can only assume these are Cricviz numbers, and they confirm what most of us already believe.

This is something very weird about this pattern, but it of course makes sense based on what we just talked about. The only way to bowl to him is from that wide angle. I would assume that Sri Lanka knew this. But Madushanka didn’t come wider on the crease. Maybe because he can’t. And ofcourse they had spin at the other end.

Weirdly it was Chameera, over the wicket, who got him. But it was another inside edge.

Kusal Perera attacks (SAK)

He went absolutely ballistic at the top. Both Kusals have had their moments when they went nuts in this World Cup, but they haven’t been able to do it together. Explosive hitting from him. It was wild to watch this innings unravel.

To be honest, it wasn’t like everyone was blocking it at the other end. But they kept getting out.

Maheesh Theekshana’s batting (SAK)

When Theekshana started batting in this tournament, I was wondering why he was batting behind Chameera. I looked up the numbers and saw that he never made any runs. There’s a lot of  ‘did not bats’ here. He is really putting together some really solid knocks.

Honestly, it’s really about the amount of time he actually batted for. He had batted for 100 minutes once in his professional career before today. This was the longest he had ever batted. I don’t think we are looking at a Mehidy Hasan-type revolution but think about it. If Theekshana can be a number 8 who can at least defend along with Hasaranga at number 7, it could shape up really well for Sri Lanka.

DDS horrorshow (JK)

I love Dhanajaya de Silva, but let us be honest, the elegant upright player has been terrible this World Cup. He has not taken a wicket. And that is because he has only bowled 25 overs, and that is because he has been smashed when he has.

He’s an offspinner and going at almost seven runs an over, that is pretty bad. Especially for someone who usually has a pretty good economy for a part-timer.

But when he has batted he has been just the opposite. Averaging 20, but also doing it slowly. A World Cup in Asia should have been perfect for him, and it’s been horrendous.

SLC shitshow (Estelle Vasudevan)

Following Sri Lanka’s 302-run defeat at the hands of India at the Cricket World Cup on the 2nd of November, Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister, Roshan Ranasinghe sacked the office bearers at Sri Lanka Cricket, replacing them with a seven-member ‘Interim Committee’ led by former Sri Lanka Captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

Claiming to have not known of the Minister’s decision, the President of the country, Ranil Wickremasinghe, tabled the matter at a cabinet meeting and it was subsequently decided that a 4-member subcommittee, led by Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, would be appointed to investigate SLC.

However, in the meantime, following an appeal by the President of SLC, Shammi Silva, the Court of Appeals issued a 14-day stay order, preventing the Interim Committee appointed by the Sports Minister from carrying out their duties.

On the 9th of November, a resolution titled “Removal of the corrupt officials including Chairman from Sri Lanka Cricket Board" was passed in the parliament.

Pakistan’s chances (JK)

I think they said this on the comms too. It is very unlikely, and if you were a Pakistan fan you’d have probably fancied yourself a bit if it was England from early in the tournament. The chances are England would still go for a win to secure their Champions Trophy qualification. The toss also needs to go in Pakistan’s favour.