Mitchell McClenaghan and Alex de Minaur’s vastly different reactions to intense pressure

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    Mitchell McClenaghan is a strongly-built 31-year-old Kiwi left-arm pace bowler who wouldn’t look out of place in an All Black jersey.

    He’s very experienced having played 48 ODIs for New Zealand, and 28 international T20s – the last in 2016.

    Alex de Minaur is a slip of a 18-year tennis player who won the Australian under-14 and under-16 titles, and still looks under 14.

    In 2015, when he first turned pro he was ranked 1574 in the world, but today he’s ranked 167 as his rapid rise continues.

    Because of his vast experience, McClenaghan was given the responsibility of bowling the final BBL over last night for the Thunder, with the Scorchers needing 24 to win off the six deliveries.

    Cameron Bancroft was 75 off 56, and Hilton Cartwright 46 off 34, with the latter on strike.

    But McClenaghan was about to bowl a nightmare over of rubbish on his home ground that left the Scorchers just three runs short.

    Cartwright inside edged the first wide delivery for four, smacked the second for a massive six, and the third for two – leaving 12 required from three deliveries for victory.

    McClenaghan’s fourth delivery was a no-ball above waist high that Cartwright deposited for two – leaving nine required, still off three deliveries.

    Cartwright scored two off the free hit – leaving seven off three – but couldn’t find the ropes to fall three short.

    It’s doubtful Thunders skipper Shane Watson will ever trust McClenaghan again with the final over unless it’s at least a 36-run lead.

    Mitch McClenaghan Sydney Thunder

    (AAP Image/Rob Blakers)

    Choke from the big Mitchell McClenaghan, but nothing but sheer courage and enthusiasm from the boyish Alex de Minaur.

    He was up against the high-quality left-handed Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, ranked 36 in the world, who played his first Slam in 2001.

    Just 85 minutes later de Minaur was into the Sydney International semis with a 6-4 6-4 success for his second ATP semi in a week.

    Last week in Brisbane he beat the big Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4, ranked 23 in the world, only to lose in three sets in the semis to American Ryan Harrison, ranked 44th, who lost the final to Nick Kyrgios.

    So far in Sydney, de Minaur has beaten another vastly experienced Spaniard Fernando Verdasco (46th) 6-4 6-2, Damir Dzumhur (30th) 6-2 3-0 (ret hurt), and Lopez.

    And in every match de Minaur has won over capacity crowds who love his dynamic strokeplay off either wing, and his serve that while it’s no bazooka like those he’s beating, it’s around the 180 mark and well placed.

    Simply, this kid is a breath of fresh air. Everything he does just oozes class.

    His CV says he’s 180 cms. but every opponent towers over him. Yet one by one de Minaur is mowing them down.

    He’s been so successful he’s won a wildcard entry into next week’s Australian Open.

    Pundits are saying de Minaur was unlucky to draw Tomas Berdych in the first round.

    Berdych had better watch out would be far more accurate – Alex de Minaur isn’t afraid of anyone.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • January 12th 2018 @ 8:19am
      Christo the Daddyo said | January 12th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      Bowling McClenaghan at the death was an odd decision, particularly as he had already been tonked around in his previous over. I wonder why Watto didn’t bowl the final over himself? The tactics seemed very rigid in that last over…

      • January 12th 2018 @ 9:48am
        jameswm said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        That, plus bowling Green’s 4th over when he was about 3 overs for 30 at that opoint.

        In McClenaghan’s previous over, he bowled 2 consecutive wides – same ball each time.

        The other 3 Thunder bowlers were excellent. They need better. Cummins and Clint McKay are on their roster, but neither can play. Not sure why for McKay, or if he is still going well.

        Rohrer has to go too. He’s a dabber and useful, but he fielded poorly and the Thunder need a power hitter down the order.

        I actually went last night – nice arena for watching. 15,000 there, which is 80-90% capacity, so the atmosphere was good. And went down to the last ball.

        Funnily enough when I got home and saw the replaay of Cartwright’s 6 off the roof, Flemo made the same comment as me – he should have caught it one handed and it would have been out.

        • January 12th 2018 @ 11:10am
          Christo the Daddyo said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          Thunder might have problems, but they’re still light years ahead of the Sixers!

      • Roar Guru

        January 12th 2018 @ 10:55am
        Paul D said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        Watto has been gunshy a few times this season about bowling himself. Put Fekete on to bowl the last over against the Heat earlier, and we had it in the bag at that point. Rubbish trundler and Burns duly pumped him into the grandstand.

        David, re: the approach of this article, I like how you’ve once again grabbed two totally unrelated occurrences and jammed them together with all the subtlety of a toddler trying to make two barbie dolls kiss. How do you come up with such innovative approaches to journalism

    • January 12th 2018 @ 9:47am
      Rodonk said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      McClenaghan the T20 mercenary for hire, except he’s complete rubbish. If you’re going to travel the world, exclusively playing T20, and you’ve had as much experience as he has, you would think he would be able to bowl with some control. Alas not, as he’s shown again this summer, he bowls pies. No wonder NZ cricket didn’t contract him, the Thunder must be wondering why they did too

      • January 12th 2018 @ 9:29pm
        Sylvester said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

        He was contracted, but asked for a release.
        Also, the 5th equal highest wicket taker in the comp this season.

    • January 12th 2018 @ 11:02am
      clipper said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      Will be interesting. Berdych has been a solid top ten player for a number of years now (although 19 now) so may have too much experience. Lopez is fast closing in on Roger’s record of consecutive grand slam tournaments – 63 (soon to be 64) now to Roger’s 65

    • January 12th 2018 @ 11:04am
      cantab said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      McClenaghan is an outright ODI strike bowlers, he kept on getting selected in the NZ ODI team because he just kept on taking wickets. Had he not walked away from NZ he would have been in the running for the fastest bowler to 100 wickets (or close too).

      You don’t bring him on for dot balls or a tidy over. Hes a high risk high return kindo of guy.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 11:35am
        Buk said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        Exactly. Presume the logic in him bowling the last over was that they were so far ahead it did not matter too much who bowled.

    • January 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm
      Jacko said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      Oh dear oh dear……David do you believe Alex de Minaurdo would have bowled that last over better????? From what I see McLennaghan bowled the over for less runs than the opposition needed to win….Job done but you want to rubbish him….Will Alex be perfect EVERY time he plays tennis??? Will he win every match he plays???

      What is the article even about??? how bad a guy was when winning the game for his team???

      • January 12th 2018 @ 1:00pm
        Bill101 said | January 12th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        Thunder won despite his bowling not because of it – big difference.

        • January 12th 2018 @ 5:14pm
          Jacko said | January 12th 2018 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

          Bill he did EXACTLY what was required and gets rubbished by a bloke like Lord who should know better and has never played a T20 ever……Its F..ing T20…..as much about luck as it is about talent and its about having more runs on the total at the end of both sides innings..the bowler could not have done any more than he did…as in if he bowls the over for 1 run they win…if he bowls it for 22 runs…..they win

          • Roar Guru

            January 12th 2018 @ 5:17pm
            Paul D said | January 12th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            It’s a standard Lordy quota piece, he presumably gets paid to write x number of articles each week and he gets paid to be controversial and drive traffic. Quantity over quality

            He’s like Beardan but with an expert tag

    • January 12th 2018 @ 1:15pm
      Pope Paul VII said | January 12th 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

      Also attended this match. Great fun. Spotty is the best ground to watch cricket and footy.

      That’s pressure for ya and McClannnnaghhhhan won so there.

      In Ragnor’s defence he did bowl his final three balls well. Also there was no replay of the alleged above waist high no ball so it left everyone there doubting it was one.

      I loved the humanising dropped catches and inept fielding that makes park cricketers proud and haters of womens’ cricket and footy turn away with shame.

      The one hand off the roof must be not known to the modern cricketer.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 1:57pm
        Christo the Daddyo said | January 12th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

        “Also there was no replay of the alleged above waist high no ball so it left everyone there doubting it was one.”

        There was on the TV – it was a no ball.

      • Roar Guru

        January 12th 2018 @ 4:58pm
        Cadfael said | January 12th 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

        Dropped catchesd and poor fielding seems to be the way to go for the BBL.

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