The 'Super Six" league match between New Zealand and Zimbabwe in the Wolrd Cup1999 on Sunday at Headingley was interrupted by rain twice. That naturally made the demands of batsmanship and bowling methods soar. These two ambitious teams who stunned the majority of the the cricketing fraternity by storming into this elite group of Six showed the needed temperament and tenacity that could be expected from the players under such conditions.
But then neither possesses a super star in its ranks and so there was no great exhibition of batting or bowling to satiate the needs of those who expect 'grand feast' under any playing conditions. Those cricketers who had achieved such feats went on to become immortals of the game. Zimbabwe and New Zealand, for that matter most of the teams in this World Cup , do not enjoy such a 'player for all seasons' in their sides. So this Zimbabwe-New Zealand match did not produce any exciting performance .
And that need not be taken as an uncomplimentary statement. For, cricket is not all about providing entertainment to the spectators. Ability to adopt to the conditions and perform to a plan that go to make a team popular and result-oriented. Today both teams revealed this adorable quality more convincingly and it was unfortunate that the game could not be completed today itself. Bad light brought abrupt end and the game would continue on Monday. Such interruptions do kill the enthusiasm of lesser lights in the teams and will have a say in the end result.
Before the start of this match, Zimbabwe, thanks to the preliminary round profits, had four points and New Zealand two points. The points table provides an interesting reading. South Africa and Pakistan ( four points each), Australia (two) and India (zero). That should speak for the plight of India who will be playing Pakistan on Tuesday and New Zealand on June 12. At this juncture, even the rabid fanatic of Indian cricket would not dare to openly discuss the possiblilities of India making the last-four stage. Empty hands , generally, do not have a friend.
Coming to today's proceedings. Zimbabwe won the toss and batted first. With the score at 47 for three in 10.4 overs rain set and drove the players to the pavilion. When play resumed, the Zimbabwe's fourth wicket pair of Murray Goodwin (57 off 90 balls) and skipper Alistair Campbell (40 off 101 balls) could not maintain any impressive run-rate against an attack that was maintaining a fine 'line and length'. However, the pair did a commendable job by taking the score to 134 for three in 36 overs when rain arrived to frustrate the players and the spectators as well.
Resting in the pavilion for a long time midway through a 'repair job' do upset the mood of many an international batsman. Goodwin and Campbell are no exception. Within three balls of the resumption the stand was broken ( 136 for four) and all hopes of Zimbabwe crossing the 200-mark were shattered by an industrious set of New Zealand bowlers among whom Geoff Allott ( 3 for 24) and Chris Cairns (3 for 24) were outstanding.