New Zealand's Peter Fulton plays a shot off the bowling of
South Africa's Dale Steyn. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
A sign in the crowd in Durban this morning (NZT)
announced it was doomsday and it wasn't clear if it was a
commentary on the fact it was the end of the Mayan calendar or
the state of the New Zealand cricket team.
It probably wasn't the latter because the Black Caps have had
too many bad days in recent times, but this was undoubtedly
another one. They were dismissed for just 86 - their
third-worst total in Twenty20 cricket history - and South
Africa romped home in 12.1 overs for the loss of just two
wickets in the first of three T20 internationals.
There had been a smidgen of optimism that New Zealand would
be able to compete with the hosts in the shortest format of
the game, particularly as both sides had a number of new
faces, the Black Caps convincingly won a warmup game against
South Africa A and anything can happen in Twenty20 cricket.
New Zealand's capitulation, however, was a sadly familiar
tale. They were often the architects of their own downfall as
they adopted an aggressive approach and it was largely left
to the four debutants to try salvage something.
They slumped to 36-6 and only Colin Munro (23) and Doug
Bracewell (21) ensured they passed the 80 New Zealand scored
against Pakistan in Christchurch in 2010 and 81 against Sri
Lanka in Lauderhill the same year.
It wasn't the way Brendon McCullum wanted to start his stint
as New Zealand captain since the Ross Taylor saga but he said
they were simply too aggressive.
"We obviously wanted to be aggressive today and we wanted to
put South Africa under pressure right from the get-go but I
think we learned a little bit about earning the right to do
that," he said.
"[We also learned] that you have to stick to your
fundamentals first and foremost and give yourselves that
opportunity and platform to then be aggressive.
"It's something we will definitely take out of this game. We
were a little over-keen to put some pressure on South Africa
from the outset."
The reverse happened as batsmen came and went in a steady
procession. Most hit across the line or chose inopportune
moments to try to attack the bowling and they didn't really
adapt to what was often a two-paced wicket.
Even as the wickets continued to fall, the Black Caps refused
to deviate from their attacking intent and it was only when
they were 60-8 did Bracewell and Roni Hira try to accumulate
a little more.
It gave the bowlers precious little to work with. Mitchell
McClenaghan was dangerous early, snaring the wicket of
Richard Levi in the first over, but Henry Davids (20), Faf du
Plessis (38 not out) and Quinton de Kock (28 not out) quickly
took the game away from New Zealand.
The Black Caps have little time to dwell on the match, with
the second Twenty20 international in East London on Monday
morning (NZT), and McCullum said they would be better.
"[We want] to ensure we continue with our aggressive intent
but make sure we stick to the fundamentals and give ourselves
a real opportunity before we try to put the hammer down," he
"I know we will be better for the experience and in 48 hours'
time we will definitely put in a much better performance. We
definitely believe we can win that game."
They will hope both Martin Guptill and Trent Boult overcome
the stomach bug that kept them out of this morning's game but
otherwise coach Mike Hesson will need to stick with his
largely inexperienced side.
It's not the end of the world but the Black Caps have to
- Michael Brown of APNZ