The semi-finals of the 2015 Cricket World Cup are here and, as was the case with your childhood birthday parties, there have been no real surprises. The four best ODI sides of the moment—the ones that can both bat and bowl, in other words—are the ones left standing: Australia, India, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Now it’s time for these sides to add to this two-dimensional batting-and-bowling game a third dimension: handling big-match pressure. Throw in a pinch of the fourth dimension, time, and you’ve got a bubbling-hot quantum stew of limited overs cricket to lap up.
I can tell you, the atmosphere here at Queen Mob’s Towers is electric, like when a low-pressure system moves over the veldt at dawn, or you grab the overhead Tranz lines in Wellington.
We spoke to two of our staffers, one supporting South Africa and one supporting New Zealand, ahead of Tuesday’s everything-to-play-for clash between the Proteas and the Black Caps in Auckland.
Name: Rauan ‘Sky Rat’ Klassnik.
Supporting: South Africa.
Favourite Duckworth Lewis Method song: ‘Mason on the Boundary.’
Favourite South Africa player: JP Duminy.
Eye colour: Sunglasses.
First ever knock-out stage World Cup win! Is the word ‘choke’ now out of the South African vocabulary? Sorry, what? What is this ‘choak’ you’re asking about?
What do South Africa have to do to win? If our pace bowlers can deal with New Zealand’s openers as quickly as they did Sri Lanka’s, we can make life much easier for ourselves. As far as batting goes: change nothing. We have five players averaging a half-century.
If you could choose one verse to sum up your attitude toward this semi-final, what would it be? Easy:
I saw my Lady weep,
And Sorrow proud to be advanced so
In those fair eyes, where all perfections keep;
Her face was full of woe,
But such a woe (believe me) as wins more hearts
Than mirth can do, with her enticing parts.
Name: Erik ‘Eric’ Kennedy.
Supporting: New Zealand.
Favourite Duckworth Lewis Method song: ‘Flatten the Hay.’
Favourite New Zealand player: Daniel Vettori.
It all seems to be going perfectly so far for N.Z. Does anything worry you? If Brendon McCullum’s luck runs out with his super-aggressive approach, we’ll be in trouble. Seeing him caught out for 12 against the West Indies made my stomach churn.
On Sky, Ian Botham said that he predicts a New Zealand–Australia final. What do you think of that? I think that’s a nice thing to say. It shows that he fully understands the ancient rules of hospitality, and that hospes means both ‘host’ and ‘guest.’
Any cricket-related verse you’d care to share? These lines from Sam Riviere’s ‘Rain Delay’ are pure gold, not fool’s gold:
but you’ll remember, Greg,
the swarm of unlikely blood-coloured butterflies
that descended on the pitch, a couple of which can often
be seen this time of year, out there now, batting between the drops.