Black Caps victory eclipses earlier predictions

The crowd enjoy the action during England’s innings in yesterday’s fourth ODI against New Zealand at the University Oval. Photos: Peter McIntosh
The crowd enjoy the action during England’s innings in yesterday’s fourth ODI against New Zealand at the University Oval. Photos: Peter McIntosh
Glen Fitzgerald (left), of Invercargill, and Gareth Clarke, of Windsor, enjoy the action during England’s innings.
Glen Fitzgerald (left), of Invercargill, and Gareth Clarke, of Windsor, enjoy the action during England’s innings.

When all around were losing their heads at the one-day cricket international between New Zealand and England, Gareth Clarke remained cool and calm.

Mr Clarke was one of many making forecasts of how many runs England might make.

But all predictions were overshadowed in the end by a stellar Black Caps performance, following a lacklustre start.

Earlier in the day, the vintage second-wicket partnership of 190 runs between England's Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow prompted some interesting crowd predictions, with several people forecasting record-breaking scores. But Mr Clarke was not getting carried away.

Just along the University Oval embankment, fellow Englishman and Barmy Army member Graham Asbury reckoned England would hit 370, eclipsing the highest ODI team total at the University Oval of 360, set three years ago by New Zealand.

Further around the crowded verge, Dunedin man Graham Wilkinson thought 350 was more realistic, as did Devon woman Angie Carley.

But Mr Clarke had the last laugh.

At a point in England's innings when 500 seemed plausible, his prediction of 334 was only one short of their final tally.

In the end, however, it was all academic, as the Black Caps surpassed the English total with three balls and five wickets in hand.

Ross Taylor was the hero for the Kiwis. Of the 339 runs scored, he made more than half of them, finishing on 181 not out, with Henry Nicholls also not out on 13.

Mr Clarke has only been in the country for a month, but the Windsor native has assimilated quickly, having snagged himself a Tui ''Catch a Million'' shirt and the beginnings of a tan.

''I got sunburned in Invercargill.''

But not everyone was as engrossed in the play on a near windless, sunny 19degC Dunedin day at the Oval - some had better things to do.

Dunedin boy Sam Isbister (8) had abandoned the embankment entirely for a bit of backyard cricket behind the food trucks.

Sam said he specialised in fast in-swingers, but the Otago Daily Times saw him smashing a rank half-volley over the fence.

Others watching the action were overwhelmed with cricket nostalgia.

Tapanui man Tyson Adams said while he was enjoying the sunshine and a few refreshments, one thing was missing from the day's action.

''Bring back Jesse Ryder,'' he said.

-By George Block

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