World Masters 2001

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Blast from the Past

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First Semi-Final - Second Semi-final - Preliminary Final

First Semi-final

Australia 132 defeated New Zealand 68

Another display of consistent batting by Australia, with skins of 34, 34, 36 and 28. Australia had scored just one "3" and one "4" up until the fourth ball of the 15th over (at which point Wilson smacked a six), yet their score to that point was 121.

New Zealand's run chase got off to a bad start when Gladigau opened up with a minus over (minus 4). New Zealand fought back immediately, taking 13 runs off the usually economical Panecasio, but Holmfrey (4) and Manion (-1) kept the pressure on for a Kiwi opening partnership of just 11.
Mark Cini and Tim Baker then took the fight right up to Australia--despite suffering two consecutive runouts in the 7th over, Tim and Mark left the court with a gutsy, hard-fought 33 runs under their belt.
Bruce Reid bowled the 9th over, for minus one run. Then Tony Panecasio, having gone for 13 in his first over, hit back with a minus one over and New Zealand suddenly needed 90 runs off the remaining 6 overs.
That's 15 an over--virtually 2 every ball, and no wickets. That was far too difficult a target, and Australia ran out comfortable winners and earned themselves a place in tomorrow's Grand Final.
New Zealand prepared to play the winner of the Second Semi-Final.

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Second Semi-final

England 133 defeated South Africa 95

Winning the toss and batting first, South Africa were away to a flying start: Steve Morris, in reportedly his last representative match for South Africa, shared in a 33 run opening partnership. Not to be outdone, Quintin Steinhobel and Tommy De Wit also put on 33. South Africa looked to be on the way to a score well in excess of 100.
England however fought back hard, keeping the 3rd pair of Anton Conradie and Tony Arnold to just 17. Even so, when the last pair (Duncan Gardiner and Ensten Steyn) took 10 off their first over, South Africa were 93 with 3 overs remaining. At that point, South Africa were averaging 7 an over for the game. Maintaining that rate would have given them a competitive 115.
The 14th over, bowled by Andy Walton, put paid to such speculation.
One Bowled and two runouts, for a total of minus 11 for the over, left South Africa struggling to reach 95.
England began their chase with an opening partnership of 35. That man Andy Walton popped up again in the second partnership--he and Tony Rock stormed to a partnership of 43, leaving their team just 17 runs behind with 8 over remaining.
South Africa fought back bravely, keeping the third pair to just 12 runs, but that still meant the scores were level with 4 overs still to go. Under those circumstances, South Africa were unable to maintain the pressure: England's last pair of Naheem Sajjad and Mike Barnatt scored 43 to guide their team to a comfortable victory.

South Africa then are the first team to drop out of the competition. They did so bravely, and with grace. They played every game with passion, with spirit, and with sportsmanship. They are no doubt disappointed, but they should not be disheartened. The players new to international competition will benefit greatly from this tournament, and should the indoor cricket powers-that-be deign to repeat this competition in the future, South Africa will field stronger teams as a result.

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Preliminary Final

England 109 defeated New Zealand 81

Batting first, England batted steadily to post 109. Partnerships of 23, 29, 32 and 25 highlight the evenness of the pairs. Adrian Smith and Ian Lindsey, after struggling to a meagre 12 against South Africa in the earlier game, turned things around markedly: they scored 32, the highest partnership of the game.
Whilst solid, 109 is not a huge score, and New Zealand would have been confident of beating it.
Phil Harris and Gavin Roake got off to a trying start--two wickets in the first over left them at minus 3 after one. But they fought back hard, taking 29 runs of the next 3 overs, for a partnership of 23.
Tim Baker and Roger Kinsella then put on 29, and New Zealand were almost half way there after half the overs.
Dave Erikson and Alistair Jolley batted steadily, and New Zealand's position was looking stronger as each over passed. By the second last ball of the 11th over, New Zealand had reached 69. They need 40 runs off 41 balls--a slightly higher rate than they were managing in this game up to then, but certainly not outside the run-chasing skills they have displayed this week. However . . .
. . . England effected a runout on the last ball of the 11th over, and the 12 th over added only 4 to their score. The equation was getting more difficult, but it was still definitely within New Zealand's capacity (42 runs from 4 overs)--especially with Mark Cini and Tony Petter batting. Both men have shown they are capable of attacking most bowling.
Then up stepped Harjeet Bhambra, Mike Barnatt and Andy Walton. Tony had just struck a lofted on-drive -- it came down just at the limits of Harjeet Bhambra's reach. Harjeet deflected it slightly with his fingertips as it sped toward the ground. Mike Barnatt threw himself full stretch, horizontally, and took a screamer of a catch in one hand, an inch above the turf. Andy was the bowler.
Next ball, Mark was runout. England were on a roll. Two balls later, another catch, and New Zealand were in trouble. Minus 9 from the over, New Zealand needing 51 from 3 overs.
The batsmen went for it, but fairly accurate line-and-length bowling from England prevented more than a few back net scores, and New Zealand fell over 20 runs short.

New Zealand become the second team to drop out of the competition. As they moved onto the court to congratulate England, I observed Manager Barry Dickey telling all the New Zealand players "keep your heads up." And he was absolutely correct--New Zealand were not one of the fancied teams before the competition began (probably more "unknown" than "unfancied"), and they have every reason to proud of their record in this tournament:

They finished the preliminary games in second place, having a final points advantage over third-placed England of 11 points. They scored more runs than either England or South Africa ( 752, 741, 734 ); had less runs scored against them than either South Africa or England ( 846, 1163, 957 ), and they easily scored more skins than either England or South Africa ( 18, 13, 10 ).
They play the game as hard as the umpires will allow, and are definitely not intimidated by the more experienced players or teams. Individual stars are not the backbone to their side either--intense team spirit, a determined and irreverant fighting spirit, and an even spread of skill are the key to their successs, and they will never again be "unfancied" in such competition.

If the rest of New Zealand indoor cricket is similar to this New Zealand team, teams participating in next year's World Cup in New Zealand would do well to treat New Zealand teams with a healthy respect . . . the indoor cricket Masters world now does . . .

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