October 10, 2000

Fingers crossed for recovery to play Pakistan

I have my fingers crossed that icing and rest over the next 48 hours will give me a chance to play against Pakistan in the semi-final of this Kenya KnockOut tournament.

I re-injured my knee while batting and was unable to open the bowling when we took the field to defend our 264 against Zimbabwe. We didn't know if we had scored enough runs.

Having lost the last two games to Zim in Zim, they came here confident and were looming as a dangerous opponent for us.

Our build-up here in Kenya was mixed, as there were 11 teams all looking to prepare well for this big tournament. This meant that with us arriving late because of our Zim series, practice wickets were pretty well over-used by the time we got to use them, but you have to make do.

Watching this tournament has been very interesting because of the knockout situation. It puts different pressure on teams because there is no second chance.

For example, in the World Cup '99 as Australia showed, they had a slow start and gathered momentum to hit the final playing great cricket.

This time they had one bad game and were eliminated. Some may argue that this format does not produce the best team and that it is a bit of a lottery. But that in itself generates excitement, as cricket is unpredictable at the best of times and this format just adds to it.

With Pakistan beating Sri Lanka easily on Sunday we knew a win today would see us meet them in the semi-final.

Having watched all the games we knew the wicket would move around early so if we won the toss Flem (Stephen Fleming) was going bowl. Heath Streak won the toss and, not surprisingly, asked us to bat.

Getting through the first few overs and having a look at things was the openers' goal but losing Nathan early was a big blow. Flem came in and looked more his old self, striking some lovely boundaries.

But when we lost Spears (Craig Spearman) and Flem close together it was up to myself and Roger to get things back on track.

After a brief partnership I departed to a lazy shot off Paul Strang and was very annoyed as I was just getting in.

Roger then partnered Craig McMillan in a great partnership that saw us reach 200/4 off 40 overs. This was an excellent launch pad to a big score but we were extremely disappointed to only reach 264 after 50 overs. This score was mainly thanks to a last over flurry from Adam Parore.

Once again Roger Twose was our stand out batter and he continues his great form.

With me unable to open the bowling Shayne O'Connor took the new ball with Geoff Allott and together they tied down the Zims, especially Shayne who bowled very well on a flat wicket.

Once Harry removed Alistair Campbell for 47 we felt we had got rid of the danger man as he had been in great touch in Zimbabwe.

Paul Wiseman also bowled well, bagging four wickets. The fielding of the CLEAR Black Caps was far more energetic than our previous two ODIs in Zim and altogether a more professional game from us. It was obviously a great result for us.

The Pakistanis will be much tougher opposition but as I stated earlier, this competition is predictable for being unpredictable.