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Mac Attack takes the game away from England

Andrew McGlashan

September 18, 2007

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Craig McMillan's improvisation and power put the game beyond England © Getty Images
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Keeping safe
It seemed Peter Moores had enough on his plate without his only wicketkeeper breaking a thumb on the eve of a crunch match. But he needn't have worried because Vikram Solanki performed admirably in his role as stand-in. A comfortable catch off Brendon McCullum settled his nerves in the opening over, and he claimed another catch off Lou Vincent. Solanki's work standing up to the medium-pacers wasn't faultless, but then again, neither was Prior's.

Ball on a hot tin roof
There has been a rapid turnover of cricket balls during this tournament, but if anyone needs a spare during the remaining matches at Durban, there will be one waiting for them on the roof of the stand at deep square leg. Scott Styris led New Zealand's recovery with a six-hitting onslaught and picked Stuart Broad up and over square leg. But the ball couldn't quite make it over the stand and instead rolled down the corrugated roofing and lodged behind an advertising hoarding.

Mac attack
For the second match running Craig McMillan provided vital ballast to New Zealand's middle order. After 19 balls he had 25, nothing exceptional in Twenty20, but then he opened his shoulders. He took 13 off Dimitri Mascarenhas, who didn't have the best of days, then gave Paul Collingwood neck-ache by sending him for 4, 6, 6. His fifty came off 27 balls and he crashed 32 from his last 12 balls to give New Zealand something to defend.

Madness
Collingwood was starting to run out of options as McMillan took the game away from England in the second 10 overs. He and Mascarenhas were being sent around the ground, so the captain called on Darren Maddy. The only time he'd bowled before for England was in December 1999 against South Africa again at Durban. Within two balls the gamble paid off as McMillan lofted a catch to long-off and a couple of deliveries later Maddy added the dangerous Jacob Oram for good measure. He quit while he was ahead too, and retired to the outfield with the impressive figures of 1-0-6-2.

New pair, new start
England tried their third opening combination of the tournament and they finally hit upon a pair that worked. Maddy was recalled while Solanki was given his first outing of the tournament and together they added 62 after England's previous first-wicket stands had been 20, 29 and 0. For someone who hadn't played since arriving in South Africa, Solanki struck the ball sweetly and Maddy, after struggling in his first two games, played like he does in domestic Twenty20s, including a massive clip for six over midwicket off Shane Bond.

Captain fantastic
Daniel Vettori might not like Twenty20, but he's pretty handy at it. After a match-winning display against India, he brought himself into the firing line with England's openers going well. With his fifth ball he had Solanki taken at long-off then, with Kevin Pietersen threatening to carry the game away from New Zealand, the captain brought himself back. Second ball, he fired in a quicker delivery and beat Pietersen's ugly reverse-sweep.

Winning in the field
When Ross Taylor spilled a simple catch off Owais Shah, Vettori threw his cap on the ground in disgust as he watched the match slip away. But then New Zealand showed their true colours in the field. Firstly, Lou Vincent pulled off an outstanding save at long-off from a powerful drive by Luke Wright. Next ball, Shah was run out by a sharp piece of work from Vettori before Jeetan Patel brought the Supersub back into vogue. He held Dimitri Mascarenhas's lofted drive on the deep-cover boundary then grabbed a tougher chance off Wright to end England's hopes once and for all.

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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New Zealand v Pakistan at Cape Town - Sep 22, 2007
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News | Features Last 3 days