Close But Yet So Far

Mathew Sinclair Caricature
Close But Yet So Far

As the Central Districts Stags captain I couldn’t dream of a more perfect start to our one day campaign, but it was a case of missed opportunities.

Having lead the competition right from the start and confidence within the team was high, I was sure we were on to a winning habit. Fantastic individual performances brought about great team wins but that was to change. A weeks break in the competition started our losing streak in a big way.

I am not a great believer in blaming batters or bowlers in a team environment, but to be brutally honest, we missed out with the ball. We bowled well with the new ball thanks to our latest Black Cap Ewen Thompson taking top order wickets, but we conceded far too many runs in our last ten overs. We were consistently going for 100+ runs.

I know from a batting point of view with wickets in hand these last overs are a great way to create some momentum and get big scores with the advent of the batting power plays. We were just lacking I feel a bit of inexperience in our bowling department to stall that momentum. With the injuries to Mike Mason and Jacob Oram we needed their experience in these overs. Brendon Diamanti was one bowler that I could really rely on and fully deserves his Black Cap selection. His art in variations and hitting the ball hard was a pleasure to watch and a player if given a go in Australia will do well.

Our batters struggled with going out and chasing these big scores, and when you need to go at more than six an over the task became too hard. We lost early wickets and left our middle order exposed to the run rate at to higher a cost. Teams that chase down big scores are the teams that find themselves constantly ahead of the run rate or on par but we lost that momentum very early on with a loss of our top order.

What all of this basically came to was that in our last game we had to beat Auckland and Northern had to beat Canterbury for us to carry on to the semi final. One thing that we could control, whilst the other totally out of our control. We ended up beating Auckland quite comfortably but Northern was upstaged by Canterbury deciding our fate in the competition. From a personal point of view I was bitterly disappointed being in such a great run of form with the bat, but also disappointed for our fans. Basically we shouldn’t have really got ourselves into a position where we were reliant on other games to go our way.

We now head into our domestic 20/20 competition as defending champions with the likelihood of the winning team heading over to India to compete for a lot of money. The return of Mike Mason and Jake Oram added with Jamie How have us as real finalist contenders. What we need to do is learn from our mistakes and get that winning habit back.


Okay how many of you people out there didn’t give the Black Caps any chance of winning in Australia.

I for one gave them a huge chance.

Would love to hear your comments on this series, as well as why you think the Aussies have lost their mojo, or have they.

Yours in Cricket
Mathew Sinclair


Mat any word on the Haddin incident? As a keeper yourself, do you know when you’ve hit the bails with your glove, even slightly?

Comment by Zac | 12:00am GMT 4 February 2009

Great stuff Mat. Pity about the rain in yesterdays game!

Comment by John | 12:00am GMT 5 February 2009

Some interesting insights there, Mat. It’s gutting to do what you need to do but not have other results go your way – good luck in the Twenty20!

Comment by Dave Wilson | 12:00am GMT 5 February 2009

Great read Mat, it is refreshing to read such an honest portrayal of your team’s performances.

I am also interested in your opinions on the Haddin incident, and must admit didn’t give the Kiwis a chance down under!

Comment by Martyn | 12:00am GMT 5 February 2009

Excellent read Matt, thanks.

I must confess to not giving the Black Caps a huge chance, although I didn’t entirely write them off. What struck me of late, is teams now have a belief against Australia, even when things are tight. Very rarely would the Aussies lose a game that is so close in times gone by, but teams now still feel they can get over the line.

There are a number of potential match winners still in the Aussie side, and in that I include the inexperienced players such as Warner, Tait, Marsh, D.Hussey (despite his overall experience), Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Hopes etc. A number of them will probably develop into top players, however at the moment it is just potential, rather than consistenly producing good performances.

Comment by Woodster | 12:00am GMT 5 February 2009

Hi Mat,
Frankly, I think Australia haven’t really played that well at ODI level since the World Cup. Looking forward to hearing about Haddingate as well.

Comment by Cameron | 12:00am GMT 5 February 2009

Sinclair, Oram and How. Would NOT want to bowl at that.

Best of luck in the 20/20 series, you definately start as favourites in my opinion.

Comment by Nath | 12:00am GMT 5 February 2009

Nice read there Mat. Good win for your boys today.

Like many others i would definitely be interested in knowing your views on Haddin and also the sms that Ponting claimed to be true. Haven’t really heard anything from anyone in NZ team commenting on that.

Comment by Hunterbhai | 12:00am GMT 6 February 2009

To be honest, I thought NZ would be pretty competitive. They have, however, played even better than I thought they would and the Aussies have been far worse. Guys like Mills have been brilliant.

The Aussies look pretty scared of losing which is making it happen. The more often it’s happened, the more scared they seem to be getting. I think NZ should win the series from here but they might drop a game or two.

Comment by Corey | 12:00am GMT 7 February 2009

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Mathew Sinclair