Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

New Zealand v South Africa, first ODI, Wellington

The sight of an American cheerleader

Man-love was blooming at the Basin

Trish Plunket

Comments: 4 | Text size: A | A
Brendon McCullum signals his half-century, New Zealand v South Africa, 1st ODI , Wellington, February 25, 2012
Wanted a bigger surge from the pocket rocket © Getty Images
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Choice of game
Much like the climbers of Everest, I went along because it was there. Although after New Zealand's dismal effort in the last Twenty20, I was quite tempted to stay home. But my need to see live cricket won out and I headed along to the stadium. And hey, winter is coming.

Team supported
The often awful, always inconsistent, occasionally amazing Black Caps.

Key performer
AB de Villiers. He managed to do what all the New Zealand players had not, and carry on to make a big score. Although one of my companions thought he was boring and really needed to get out, he quietly made a run-a-ball century and took South Africa home. And there were a couple of lovely sixes in that.

One thing I'd have changed
I would have kept Brendon McCullum in. He was going well, thanks to the review system, until his nine lives ran out. I would have loved to see him go on to make a big score, as he's well overdue.

Face-off I relished
Tim Southee versus the World. He's been growling and snarling at the South Africans, and while it hasn't really improved his bowling much - he was rather wayward again - it was fun to watch him get in the faces of everyone he bowled to, as well as occasionally glaring at the fans who constantly yelled for him to give them a wave. However, we may have found the reason for his aggression - hunger. When a fan tossed a doughnut to him at third man, he picked it up off the turf and took a bite. Clearly the Black Caps support staff need to be feeding him more regularly.

Wow moment
Nathan McCullum's lovely six just prior to getting out. While we all thought it went much further than it did, it was a bright shot in what had been a rather dull innings.

Player watch
We had seats right next to the dug-outs, which meant we were able to observe the players closely - we spied Ross Taylor looking almost recovered, Andy McKay looking after the drinks with a towel round his neck, and Tom Latham, who looks as though he should be off lobbing a ring into a volcano.

Shot of the day
Faf du Plessis strolled down the wicket to Doug Bracewell and slogged him over midwicket for six. It was a brutal shot and marked the South Africans finally putting NZ out of our misery.

Man-love meter
I note that it is no longer just the preserve of batsmen to offer a little congrats on good play. The NZ fielders have this thing of slapping hands, bumping fists or patting backsides after particularly sharp fielding efforts. I approve, a little more love never goes amiss.

Crowd meter
The crowd was small but boisterous, with several stag parties, a bunch of kids cricket teams, and the Beige Brigade.

Entertainment
The DJ at the stadium deserves a high-five. Although his abilities in finding rain-related songs were not needed today, playing Creed's "With arms wide open" to celebrate one of Morne Morkel's wides was brilliant.

Fancy-dress index
While most of the stag parties had an unfortunate groom in drag, one had him all kitted out as a large, er, phallus. I don't want to know where they bought the costume from.

New Zealand gather around Jesse Ryder after he catches Graeme Smith, New Zealand v South Africa, 1st ODI , Wellington, February 25, 2012
Look India, how happy they all are © Getty Images
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Lost in translation
Sitting just down from me was an American bloke, who was extremely loud and charmingly obnoxious. Discovering that Andy Ellis wore his "football number" he began to chivvy and encourage Ellis in a booming voice. "Dig it in, three-three, dig it in!" "Good play three-three, didn't come off but you'll get it next time!" "Don't slack off the play, Ellis man, you're important!"

I'm pretty sure the only other person to have ever been that encouraging to Andy is his mother. When the American fan began a freestyle rap on Ellis' choice of water over Gatorade, I laughed so hard I cried. It was beautiful.

Overall
It wasn't really much of a game. It progressed along to the Black Caps' demise in a sedate fashion, which would have been terribly boring if they weren't an entertaining lot in themselves, especially in the field. With the low total South Africa didn't need to go after it hammer and tongs, so we were starved of action in the chase too.

Marks out of 10
8. That two off was because we lost, and we played pretty ordinary cricket doing it. But that American chap absolutely made my day. If you're reading this, four for you my friend. Four for you.

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Trish Plunket is a descendant of the guy who named the Plunket Shield. This affords her no special privileges whatsoever. She lives, plays and works (when closely supervised) in Wellington, New Zealand. When not supporting cricket teams who specialise in top-order collapses she studies psychology and writing, referees rugby union, and tries to convince people to employ her.

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Comments: 4 
Posted by   on (February 27, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

VERY funny .... you officially have a brand spanking new Saffa fan. Keep it coming.

Posted by Sammorama on (February 26, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

C'mon Trish - the Black Caps are not often awful - they more often punch above their weight.

This was a tight, tense affair for 80 overs - Faf and AB just lifted when they needed too and the LBW review Faf had was a critical moment.

A few more on the board would not have gone astray, but when you have Smith, Amla and Kallis back in the hut for 35 and they still coast home, you know you're playing the best.

Chin up lads - lets get stuck in on Wednesday.

Posted by TrickyKid on (February 26, 2012, 19:11 GMT)

Nice one. Although I think it was a T-bone that Southee was gnawing on .

Posted by mohr on (February 26, 2012, 15:28 GMT)

Good one Trish. Particularly loved the part about Southee! Keep it up :)

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