Cricketer of the Week (February 16-22): Tim Southee
After registering a comfortable win over Sri Lanka in the first game of the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand entered into their second fixture versus England at Wellington on Friday, full of confidence and looking to make it two out of two.
England, on the other hand, came into the encounter wounded after a loss to Australia in their first game of the competition and hence were eager to get off the mark on the points table.
Southee floors the English batting
England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like a good batting surface. However, Blackcaps speedster Tim Southee, gave his side the perfect start by removing opener Ian Bell for 8 and then got rid of his partner Moeen Ali with a wonderful yorker for 20.
After the initial burst, he returned for a second spell in the middle of the innings and executed the yorker perfectly for a second time in the day to get past the defence of James Taylor, who was dismissed for a duck.
Southee left the Englishmen reeling at 108 for 6 when he got rid of wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler for 3, with a ball that just moved away a fraction to take the outside edge, and landed into the safe hands of Luke Ronchi behind the stumps.
He completed his five-wicket haul with an absolute beauty by coming wide of the crease and pegging back the off stump to dismiss Chris Woakes and can thank Stuart Broad for improving his figures further, after the England fast bowler scooped a full ball on leg stump to Daniel Vettori at mid-off for 4.
Seventh heaven for Southee
The right-arm pacer finished with figures of 7 for 33 in his 9 overs, thereby, setting a new record for the best bowling figures by a New Zealand bowler in ODI cricket and it meant that England were bowled for a paltry total of 123 in 33.2 overs.
Coming out to bat in the second innings, Morgan would've hoped for his bowlers to make the game a close affair, by making early inroads into the New Zealand top-order. But all those wishes evaporated when Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum smashed the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Chris Woakes to all parts of the ground that ensured that his side won the game commandingly with 226 balls remaining.
For his superb spell of swing bowling, Southee was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Southee claims he did nothing different
After the game, Southee said that he didn't try to do anything different in the middle and added that he would cherish this performance in the future.
“I did nothing different. It was just one of those days where you can't do anything wrong. You just keep going and going. It was a bit of a blur at the time. It will be something I personally look back on in time and probably realise how special it is,” he said.
In most of the previous World Cups, New Zealand were always considered to be the dark horses. But for the first time, the Blackcaps are among the three favourites according to most experts.
There's no doubt that if they do keep up this level of performance in the upcoming matches, they may as well be on the way to their maiden World Cup title in just over a month’s time.
You can catch the past winners of this series on this link: Recent Cricketers of the Week