By: Bryan Waddle | Wednesday, October 10, 2012 7:34 AM
"Punching above our weight" is a cliché that applies to almost all our national sporting teams apart from the All Blacks, but is probably the best description of how our teams perform in the international arena. It’s all about resources and New Zealand doesn't have the depth that other countries possess, therefore the challenge to get the best from what we have is greater.
It’s easy to sit back and reflect on the Sri Lankan experience and clutch at straws for any little positive. New Zealand didn't win a game in the 'super eights'. Neither did South Africa, one of the pre-tournament favourites - they lost all three while New Zealand only lost one. The difference was the Black Caps lost two 'super over' shootouts. Defending champions England went no further than New Zealand but did at least record more wins than New Zealand.
I'm not one to get too carried away with T20 results – it’s more a lottery than a pure cricket contest - but it is an international tournament and performances and achievements must be examined and placed into perspective. Should New Zealand have performed better? Yes. Too often we have appeared at these international competitions and played below potential and this was no different.
It’s time to be brutally frank about individual and team results. Even allowing for the two 'super over' results, this was a failed campaign. New Zealand didn't reach the business end of the tournament and the leading players didn't deliver enough.
Setting a standard for a top order player of an average of 30 or better and a high strike rate, Taylor, McCullum and Franklin gained pass marks for average, three in the top 25 who bettered 30, while McCullum was the 5th top run getter and Taylor was 14th. That leaves Guptill, Nicol, Williamson and Oram falling short on delivery of runs, Oram now a bowler who bats but still occupies a key role with the bat.
Strike rate, average, economy and wickets are the key ingredients to bowling measurement. Southee was the top wicket taker with 8 at 18 and an economy of 8 an over, taking a wicket every 13 balls. He also developed as an excellent death bowler even allowing for his 'super over' indiscretions. Bracewell and Hira both had acceptable figures with 2 and 1 games respectively. Vettori and McCullum gained pass marks, a fraction over 6 runs per over conceded but Vettori again found wickets hard to secure. Oram took 5 wickets but was expensive, conceding 9 and a half an over while Mills took 4 at 32, conceding 8.18 per over.
On the evidence of this event the bulk of runs come from the top four and in Sri Lankan conditions spinners were more effective than seamers. New Zealand was well served with a balanced attack but seldom managed consistency with the bat in the important games. Three of the four batsmen who passed 200 tournament runs played in the final - Gayle, Samuels and Jayawardene, while Watson with 249 was top run-getter but failed when he was needed in the key games.
While I don't always subscribe to the view that specialists should be selected for the various forms of the game, there is an increasing argument to suggest that New Zealand does need to look for a new breed of T20 cricketer to complement the skills that the class players bring to all forms of the game.