New Zealand’s now former ODI captain Brendon McCullum has praised his team for the way they responded to a batting collapse in the first innings and staged a 55-run win to retain the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.
McCullum, playing his final ODI innings, smoked a 27-ball 47 to set New Zealand up nicely, but the hosts lost their way towards the end of the innings, losing six wickets for just 23 runs to muster a below-par 246.
If New Zealand were feeling low immediately after that slide, they certainly did not show their disappointment when they took to the field, as McCullum revealed that he had urged his players during the break to not get bogged down.
“The team performance today, especially after losing six for not many, I think lesser teams would have folded,” McCullum said. “And one thing we pride ourselves on is making sure that if we are going to get beaten, we’re going to make it hard for the opposition to do so.
“That was the mentality we try to take out to fielding and bowling and also just stress to the guys, it doesn’t matter what we get, it’s a matter of what they get. If we were capable of losing six for not many, it was a wicket that was tough to start on, so that was the message that was stressed at halftime.”
McCullum’s words clearly lifted the team, as excellent spells from Doug Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, Corey Anderson and Matt Henry suffocated the Australia batsmen on a slow pitch, and New Zealand bundled their opponents out for 191 inside 44 overs. McCullum, who now has just two more Tests left in him before he quits internationals all together, could not think of a better way of signing off from limited-overs internationals.
“To beat the world champions in the Chappell-Hadlee series, which means so much to us, is a fitting way to step away from the game. For us to be able to still step out and beat the best team in the world is testament to the depth that we’ve been able to create over a period of time.
“That was a pleasing aspect of it and I thought the way the guys responded was phenomenal. Doug Bracewell, he was on the the sidelines for the last little while, and the way he came in and seized that key moment, kept it tight, started building some pressure.
“And that allowed Ish, another wonderful story of a guy who’s come back in after a long time out of the side, and he bowled with confidence and he bowled beautifully. He was able to apply some pressure and get wickets.It’s great when you can see guys come in and perform in pressure situations.” (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)