New Zealand v Australia World Cup group game – The Liebke Ratings

Dan Liebke Columnist

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    After a two-week break due to Brisbane rain and the essentially linear nature of time, Australia resumed their World Cup campaign against co-hosts New Zealand.

    And without getting too carried away, it was a game that matched the excitement level of any of the associate games in the tournament so far. Here are the ratings for the Eden Park thriller.

    Eden Park
    Grade: C

    The only thing that had been spoken about more than Australia’s infamous two-week break was Michael Clarke’s return as Australian acting full-time captain. Clarke showed he’d lost none of his captaincy nous, winning the toss as if he’d never been away.

    He elected to bat, which was fine with Brendon McCullum, who revealed he had wanted to bowl anyway. (Side note: every time a captain loses a toss he should always say that he’d intended to do whatever it is he is being forced to do. That’s Mind Games 101.)

    The only other thing that had been spoken about more than Australia’s two-week break were the short boundaries at Eden Park and how pretty much any total was possible on the ground. After the first over, Australia had plundered 15, setting an early benchmark total of 750, which most pundits agreed was ‘about par’.

    In fact, such was the ease with which fours and sixes were being struck that Aaron Finch somehow scrambling a three had a strong claim to being the most remarkable feat of the day.

    Well, batting feat, anyway. It got nowhere near any of the bowling feats.

    Batting collapses
    Grade: A

    Australia lost Finch with the score on 30, and Shane Watson and David Warner partnered to take the total to 1/80.

    Australia then lost 8/26, which even the most one-eyed of their fans (and a big hello to the Channel Nine commentary box if they’re reading) would have to admit was less than ideal.

    What had happened to cause this record collapse? Was it a cunning Australian plan to minimise the amount of time in which Clarke could injure his hamstring? Had they rope-a-doped McCullum’s captaincy, tricking him into almost bowling out his best three bowlers for a mere nine wickets, leaving the last pair of Brad Haddin and Pat Cummins to reap the rewards?

    Or was it simply a case of Trent Boult and the rest of the New Zealand attack shamefully showing no respect for the spirit of Gallipoli as they crushed their hapless Anzac brothers?

    Who can say? One thing was for sure, that 750 target was beginning to seem less and less likely. Despite Haddin and Cummins’ best efforts, Australia unluckily ended their innings a disappointing 599 runs short.

    Brendon McCullum
    Grade: B

    Brendon McCullum batted the only way he knows how. That is, with a cricket bat. He used that cricket bat to bludgeon 50 off a mere 21 deliveries. Ridiculously, that wasn’t his fastest ODI fifty. It wasn’t even his fastest World Cup fifty. Or his fastest fifty this week.

    Why was he batting so slowly? Probably because Mitch Johnson had gone frighteningly close to breaking his arm. And without even a (swear) word of warning from Clarke. Thanks a lot, Jimmy Anderson.

    Mitchell Starc
    Grade: B+

    There was a time when Mitchell Starc was number one on my personal ‘players who objectively do quite well but of whom I remain unconvinced’ rankings. In recent months, he has plummeted well down that list. (New leader: Aaron Finch.)

    Starc was magnificent as Australia did their best to defend their stupidly small total. He took 6/28 off nine overs, almost singlehandedly dragging Australia to the brink of victory in a game where victory brinks should have been well outside of single-handed dragging range.

    If there’s one thing Starc could work on though, it’s converting all the hat-tricks he finds himself on. He had two hat-trick chances in this match and blew both of them. Poor work.

    Starc was well supported by Cummins, who not only took two wickets (including that of McCullum) but also a disputed catch, which gave the New Zealand crowd an Australian they could accuse of cheating, something that always makes them deliriously happy.

    Net run rates
    Grade: F

    New Zealand got a large net run rate boost for winning this game. Because they won it in 23.1 overs and therefore obviously thrashed Australia.

    This is kind of silly mid-1980s thinking, isn’t it? We’ve had Duckworth Lewis for decades now and, even if the mathematics of it is beyond most casual fans, the basic concept that wickets remaining are a resource that need to be considered along with overs remaining is pretty well established.

    Net run rates in successful chases should be calculated by using Duckworth Lewis par scores that take into account not only the overs taken to win the game but also how many wickets the chasing team lost in doing so. It’s absurd that winning nine wickets down off 24 overs earns you a better net run rate than winning no wickets down off 25.

    Sorry, no jokes in that bit. I was making an actual point. Won’t happen again.

    But hey, at least we got that point against Bangladesh, right?

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    The Crowd Says (43)

    • Columnist

      March 1st 2015 @ 6:27am
      Geoff Parkes said | March 1st 2015 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      Superb Dan.

      As always with Eden Park, all that energy and talk beforehand about the ground dimensions came to nothing. It’s what happens in the 22 yards that determines the outcome!

      • March 1st 2015 @ 7:00am
        moaman said | March 1st 2015 @ 7:00am | ! Report

        Nice piece: Also like to point out I saw no evidence that the Aussie bowlers were “10kmph quicker” than their counterparts as some muppet alledged midweek.I wish that commentators would update their ‘intelligence’ on opposition players more often than once a decade.McDermott—I’m looking at YOU…..

        The game was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions,witnessed throughout from my couch in various states of confidence and terror.

        • March 2nd 2015 @ 8:15am
          Riccardo said | March 2nd 2015 @ 8:15am | ! Report

          Gidday Moa.

          The Australian commentators were cringe-worthy. Mark Waugh, whom I have admired as a silky stroke-maker, was just embarrassing. Shane Warne only marginally better. And McDermott still thinks he’s an aggressive fast bowler hating on the opposition.

          Their lack of respect or even regard for New Zealand must have been verging on unbearable for Ian Smith who took it with pretty good graces all things considered.

          What a game though. Thanks God we got across the line; to lose that would have been criminal. Questions about application with the bat are required in the debrief.

          I must say that the Mitch of the Starc variety was superb though.

    • Roar Guru

      March 1st 2015 @ 6:56am
      Kia Kaha said | March 1st 2015 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Nice piece.

      On the serious note, if you get bowled out in the 33rd over, you deserve to get a hammering in the run rate just as NZ would’ve if they’d been bowled out in the 24th over.

      The remedy is simple. Bat out your 50 overs and don’t lose all your wickets. Reward the teams who get their opponents out and punish those who commit the cardinal sin by not batting out their overs.

      Duckworth Lewis sounded like a Disney film about a hopeless high school ice hockey team that came good. We’re better off without it. Two anorak-wearing statisticians who come up with a scoring system deserve to be shunned.

      • March 1st 2015 @ 7:03am
        moaman said | March 1st 2015 @ 7:03am | ! Report

        On the net run rate;NZ appears to have merely maintained the same RR they had going into the game or am I mistaken? (+3.5.)

        • Columnist

          March 1st 2015 @ 7:37am
          Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 7:37am | ! Report

          They have. Which by the way averages work means that their win yesterday is considered a roughly equivalent thrashing as to all the other ones they’ve inflicted.

          More interesting to look at Australia, who now have a negative NRR, which means yesterday’s loss is considered a bigger thrashing than the one they gave England.

          The NRR from yesterday’s game was equivalent to NZ batting first, scoring 330 and then bowling Australia out for 151.

          If you used a D/L par score, it’s equivalent to NZ batting first, scoring 162 and then bowling Australia out for 151.

          I know which one reflects the game I saw.

      • Columnist

        March 1st 2015 @ 8:13am
        Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        Kia Kaha

        Ah, but if NZ had been bowled out off Starc’s final ball, NZ wouldn’t have been hammered in the NRR. They would have lost by 5 runs and suffered an appropriate minor impact. The fact that the next ball was hit for 6 transformed the NRR position from a 5 run loss to the equivalent of an 180 run win. That’s the inequity. I think a transformation from a 5 run loss to an 11 run win would have been a more accurate reflection of the tightness of the game.

        • Roar Guru

          March 1st 2015 @ 8:29am
          taylorman said | March 1st 2015 @ 8:29am | ! Report

          Dunno that it’s that unfair. Oz knew when they started they HAD to bat 50 overs. When NZ batted they knew they didn’t need the fifty. It was oz that set the scene with the run rate. Wickets were irrelevant in that context. That NZ took nine to chase it had nothing to do with the run rate.

          • Columnist

            March 1st 2015 @ 8:39am
            Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 8:39am | ! Report

            Oh, sure. NZ played by the current rules, just as they did against Scotland. And fair enough. They’re no dummies.

            I’m just saying that I think the current rules don’t accurately provide a way of comparing teams batting first and winning to teams batting second and winning, and that there’s a better way of lining the two up. If you disagree with that, based on the numbers in all my other comments here, then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          • Roar Guru

            March 2nd 2015 @ 3:36pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | March 2nd 2015 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

            That is also why, in matches like this it’s actually a big advantage to bat second. If Australia knew that 200 would have been enough runs to win the game, they’d have probably got there because they would have played much more circumspect. However, they were believing they needed 300+ and therefore were going hard, and doing it badly, and lost wickets. NZ then coming on knowing they only need 152, is actually a big advantage, just as batting first and piling on a big total can cause scoreboard pressure, the same is possible in reverse from a low score.

        • Roar Guru

          March 1st 2015 @ 8:57am
          Kia Kaha said | March 1st 2015 @ 8:57am | ! Report

          Well just as well they didn’t lose then as that would’ve been an injustice. 😉

          I still remember the rain affected matches and the D/L system didn’t appease everyone then either.

          Personally I’m more aggrieved about the shared points with Bangladesh. I think Australia can count themselves lucky they picked up any points at all. 😉

          • March 1st 2015 @ 4:47pm
            Mitch said | March 1st 2015 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

            Considering new zealand batted just as horribly as australia perhaps they should be worried for their game against bangladesh?

        • Roar Guru

          March 2nd 2015 @ 3:33pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | March 2nd 2015 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

          It is true. The fact that NRR will never come into anything here as it’s very difficult for teams to end up on the same number of points (even before the Aus v Bang washout) unless the “minnows” compete reasonably evenly and taking points off the teams that make the quarters.

    • March 1st 2015 @ 7:21am
      Graeme said | March 1st 2015 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      Very entertaining. And NZ merit their superior run rate for surviving the last wicket. It’s what makes cricket interesting.

      • Columnist

        March 1st 2015 @ 7:39am
        Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 7:39am | ! Report

        Disagree. They merit the 2 points for surviving the last wicket. And they merit a slight improvement to NRR for winning what in the end turned out to be a close game. They don’t merit a NRR improvement equivalent to a 330 plays 151 thrashing.

        (Not that any of this matters – it’s highly unlikely either NZ or Australia will finish on equal points with anybody. It’s just the principle that bugs me.)

        • March 1st 2015 @ 4:51pm
          Bobbo7 said | March 1st 2015 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

          But the chasing teams take the risk in batting hard for the quick win. In my view they deserve the RR because the risk is there, like we saw against Scotland

          • Columnist

            March 1st 2015 @ 5:45pm
            Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

            I understand that argument. And it’s certainly the most sensible way to play given the current rules. I just think it would make more sense to change the rules to more accurately reflect the margin of victory, rather than keep them as some kind of secondary risk-reward game you can play simultaneously.

            But, to each their own. We’ll agree to disagree.

      • March 1st 2015 @ 7:44am
        Al said | March 1st 2015 @ 7:44am | ! Report

        I disagree, Graeme; NZ deserve the competition points for surviving (well, and scoring more runs – that’s probably also important). In other sports, where the games all go the normal length regardless of how badly a team is getting hammered, points difference is an easy method of splitting teams and unfortunately it’s clearly unusable for ODIs unless we let a winning team finish batting their 50 overs. How many more runs would NZ managed to get? 1? 5? 10? 20? Certainly not 150, which is what they’re basically credited with. Considering that we’ve already got a system for comparing how well a team has performed in a full inning to one in a shortened inning, I agree with Dan that the continued use of NRR in these tournaments is pretty old-hat.

        • March 1st 2015 @ 7:44am
          Al said | March 1st 2015 @ 7:44am | ! Report

          Ninja’d by Dan while trying to write a post agreeing with him 🙁

    • March 1st 2015 @ 8:18am
      Fivehole said | March 1st 2015 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Thought for sure you’d have a comment on the big show and how he dug in at Australia’s hour of need. Although you could say the same for 5 others in the team.

      T20 is doing wonders for our ability to conservatively grind out 4-5 an over without loss

      • Columnist

        March 1st 2015 @ 8:28am
        Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        He was in my first draft, but then cut in a poor decision that I now regret.

        Much like his innings yesterday.

        (Thank you, everybody. You’ve been a wonderful audience. My next show’s at 11.)

        • March 1st 2015 @ 2:46pm
          Chinmusick said | March 1st 2015 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

          Been here since a quarter to 11 and haven’t seen or heard a peep out of you!

          • Columnist

            March 1st 2015 @ 3:16pm
            Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

            Sorry. Show was cancelled.

    • March 1st 2015 @ 10:43am
      Chinmusick said | March 1st 2015 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      “Starc was magnificent as Australia did their best to defend their stupidly small total. He took 6/28 off nine overs, almost singlehandedly dragging Australia to the brink of victory in a game where victory brinks should have been well outside of single-handed dragging range.”

      Hahaha – I love it! Rock on Dan!

      I didn’t realise that was how the NRR system worked, NZ deserve nothing but the 2 points, they almost managed to snatch defeat from the powerfully masticating jaws of victory.

      • March 1st 2015 @ 1:51pm
        BBA said | March 1st 2015 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

        Agreed, good to point out, however because NRR is so unlikely to factor in anything apart from haing something to talk about between games, not much pressure on ICC to think up a better solution, as I am sure they cant afford the copyright of Dan’s way to sensible and fairer solution to teh NRR situation.

        • Columnist

          March 1st 2015 @ 3:17pm
          Dan Liebke said | March 1st 2015 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

          Oh, sure. Especially since NZ are now unlikely to lose any games and Australia are on an odd number of points, this is all completely academic.

          But if we can’t squabble and complain about mostly irrelevant playing condition intricacies, what kind of cricket fans are we?

    • March 1st 2015 @ 3:40pm
      Craig Watson said | March 1st 2015 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

      Power batting training. Power batting play. Madness. What are CA thinking. ODI cricket is not just about smashing the white ball to all corners and out of the park. It should also be about applying defense when needed. Concentration when needed. A solid technique and sure footwork when needed. The Aussies showed none of these disciplines yesterday.

      • March 1st 2015 @ 3:49pm
        Chinmusick said | March 1st 2015 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        We batted like a pack of blind lepers, but one important point keeps entering my mind. NZ only just beat us, JUST! We posted a total of 151 – If they can take any confidence out of that I will be very surprised. They must know in the back of their mind that If Australia turn up with their bats, going off yesterdays match, NZ have absolutely no chance of beating us. They limped over the line and then cheered like they had Liberated Paris. If I was the Black Caps coach I would be tearing them a new one, really they should have destroyed us from that position. I know the bowling was insanely good, but it always is when you play against Australia.

        • March 1st 2015 @ 5:46pm
          Hayley said | March 1st 2015 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

          Sometimes its more difficult to chase a smaller total. Also, when was the last time any of the Blackcaps have faced the aussie bowlers. Like 20 million years ago (just a little bit of an exaggeration). Both countries need to looking at their batting. Both teams batted poorly and both teams bowled superbly.

        • March 2nd 2015 @ 11:35am
          Boerewors said | March 2nd 2015 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          And so many in the Australian team failed: Clark; Watson; Finch; Maxwell, and will fail again this series. Bowlers dug the side out of trouble, well done to Starc. Clark is rusty and will not regain form, aged ability, no grunt for this format, wont get going. Hes the ego of James Hird in cricket. Bring back Bailey.

          • Roar Guru

            March 2nd 2015 @ 3:42pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | March 2nd 2015 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

            Rubbish. Clarke played one bad shot in his innings and got out. It happens sometimes. Other times you get away with a few, get a hundred and people think you are amazing. Prior to that he’d come out facing a ball swinging all over the place and basically hit everything off the middle of the bat. Considering he hasn’t played a competitive game in over 2 months, he looked incredibly good. I suspect he’ll come out and score a lot of runs in the remainder of this tournament.

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