Oram inspires turnaround

The return of Jacob Oram to the New Zealand side has been instrumental in a vastly improved performance by the Black Caps, finishing with a 90-run bonus point victory over England at the Adelaide Oval today. After the match started in distressingly familiar fashion for New Zealand supporters with the top order collapsing for the sixth time in the last six one-day internationals the team have played, the big all-rounder played a brilliant innings to register his highest score in one-day internationals of 86 before an excellent bowling display and a fielding performance immeasurably better than that seen against Australia on Sunday removed England for just 120 in reply.

As New Zealand won the toss and batted under cloudless skies on what is traditionally a batsmen-friendly pitch in Adelaide, a viewer could be forgiven for thinking it was instead a tentative start to the first morning of a Test match on a treacherous wicket in gloomy conditions conducive to swing bowling. New Zealand struggled to reach a run-rate of three during the Power Play overs, limping to 61-4 at the 20-over mark after an excellent start with the ball by Jon Lewis, James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff. From there it didn’t get much better, with the score ten overs later being just 90-5.

From there Oram began to build an innings and show just how much New Zealand have missed him in the last few months. With great support at the other end from Brendon McCullum, particularly in terms of the running between the wickets, Oram set about getting the innings back on track. The two put on 120 in reasonably quick time and without needing to hit many boundaries as many easy singles were instead turned into quick twos. The partnership set up a platform from which Oram could launch an onslaught in the last 10 overs, hitting the ball to the boundary six times and clearing it twice as he raced through to 86 from just 89 balls.

In the end New Zealand reached 210, thanks mainly to Oram who almost single-handedly led New Zealand from a position at which it seemed unlikely they would reach even 150 to a total that with a good performance with the ball and in the field could be defended. Credit must also be given to McCullum, whose running between the wickets in his vital 30 was exceptionally valuable in setting a defendable target.

Although Shane Bond had returned to bolster New Zealand’s bowling attack, it was James Franklin who was responsible for the early damage. Franklin took 3-17 in seven overs as England were reduced to 31-3, a spell of bowling that suggested that Franklin has learnt how to be an effective ODI bowler when conditions are not offering assistance for swing bowlers, and that he is a bowler on the improve in this form of the game.

From there a solid partnership looked to be developing between Paul Collingwood and Ed Joyce, the two putting on 45 before Daniel Vettori was brought into the attack. Vettori, who has bowled well without much luck to date in the tournament, broke the partnership with the wicket of Collingwood and followed it with the crucial one of Flintoff. Not happy with that, he then removed Joyce after a promising innings of 47 thanks to a brilliant outfield catch by Mark Gillespie, and took his fourth wicket with a slip catch by Stephen Fleming to send back Jamie Dalrymple without scoring.

Bond was brought back into the attack and, sitting on 99 wickets and perhaps inspired by Oram who took his 100th wicket earlier in the evening in removing James Nixon, ended the match in two consecutive balls with the wickets of Monty Panesar and Jon Lewis to finish the match on 101 wickets.

When New Zealand’s fifth wicket fell at 67 it was hard to see them posting a competitive total, let alone one from which they could win with a bonus point. But Oram’s spectacular innings and a perfect display with the ball and in the field, coupled with a less than impressive England batting effort, saw New Zealand blow England away and move into second place in the standings, albeit far behind the dominant Australians, who England face the daunting task of playing against later in the week.

New Zealand 210 all out
Jacob Oram 86, Brendon McCullum 30
Andrew Flintoff 4-21, James Anderson 2-47

England 120 all out
Ed Joyce 47, Andrew Strauss 19
Daniel Vettori 4-24, James Franklin 3-17

New Zealand won by 90 runs.

Cricket Web Player of the Match: Jacob Oram – 86 (89) and 1-17.

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