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First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
It was a classic Wellington summer's day. That is the clouds were low, the winds were high, and I was given a refund stub because everyone thought it was going to rain. What better day to watch The Hell Wellington Firebirds take on the Northern Knights at the Basin Reserve? (Don't answer that.)
Theo Doropoulos may have a name that sounds like he was a visitor from the A-League match down at the Stadium, but he was the difference in the game. His bowling was precise, he got a couple of wickets on what looked like the flattest pitch in cricketing history, and he did a very good job bowling at the death.
One thing I'd have changed
The weather. What should have been an amazing day was humid, windy and a bit sad. More sun would have meant more crowds. As it was those of us who had returned to Wellington from our holidays wondered if we could have taken another few days.
Face-off I relished
One of my favourite things is toys that don't need batteries. Jesse Ryder definitely fits that profile. He got into it with Darryl Tuffey when he was batting, with James Marshall when he was bowling, and with himself when he felt he wasn't doing quite well enough. NZC should keep him around for his entertainment value as well as his spectacular hitting.
Being unsure where Doropoulos was actually from, one of my companions strolled down to ask Cameron Borgas. She was told, "Originally Perth, but latterly from Adelaide."
Anton Devcich had been revving up to deal to the bowling. Then Luke Woodcock totally flummoxed him with a beautiful piece of spin and the bails went flying. Suddenly the Knights chase came to a spluttering halt.
Shot of the day
Ryder smashed Steven Croft out of the Basin and across the road, where the ball narrowly missed a hipster who was on his phone. The only thing that could have made that shot any more perfect would have been if it had actually hit the hipster.
Wellington, I am disappointed. There were significantly fewer people at the ground than the game deserved, enough that only one of the bars was open.
The DJ, along with amusing song choices, made a nice faux pas when announcing the score. Rather than being one wicket down, suddenly he called the Firebirds as being five down. Now, I understand he announces for the Firebirds, whose tradition of top-order collapses is long and distinguished, but really…
The Knights have those wonderful pink uniforms. Truly only one thing could have made them more disturbing, and that is the advertising placed squarely on the trouser seats. We were confused. Who on earth thinks to themselves "Where's the best place to advertise our men's clothing brand? I know, on the baby-pink backsides of a cricket team!"
And I can hardly be told off for checking it out. It's like they think we need the encouragement.
ODIs v Twenty20s
This is kind of like Sophie's Choice, only in reverse - which of my children do I dislike least? I've never been a great fan of Twenty20, but I do think they have snuck just past ODIs in my estimation, because they are over quicker so I can get out of the cold. Both of them are vastly inferior to Test matches, of course.
With the Knights needing 15 off the last over, I hardly dared to hope. Surely we would find a way to lose… but no! Wellington won, securing a home semi-final in the HRV cup, making it easily the best game I've seen this summer. But then, I follow the Black Caps.
Marks out of 10
9. Only one off for the bloody wind.
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