Ok, we almost pulled that one out of the fire. Brilliant fielding as usual and Patel was great - he bowled very well and caused a run out in the field.
However, this should detract from our woeful batting. In fact it should highlight the fact that if we had got a few more runs then we would have won. It is clear to me, that our fielding unit is as good as any team in world cricket. We are a balanced attack, and when Bond fires we can scare any team. The fact he hasn't really fired yet is highlighting how well the rest of the unit is going. Jimmy Franklin is probably the weak link, but he will make way for Oram or Styris or both.
If I was "The Ferocious Mr Fixit" here's how I would put it:
Our batting has the ability, but the line up is wrong.
McCullum is a fine finisher. He just looks ordinary against the new ball. He has all the shots in the book, but some players just can't handle the swinging ball. It also looks like he is trying too hard.
Fleming is badly out of touch. Astle is hit and miss but should stay. Taylor is class, but is running the risk of having his flair coached out of him as seems to happen to all young New Zealand players.
McMillan is a stop gap measure at best. Fulton looks ok, but needs to stop getting out in the 20's - application and concentration. Vettori is class, but again needs to get more out of himself, and the tail without McCullum to boost them looks very long.
Astle and Fleming to open. Astle told to play his game, and Fleming applies himself as the glue that holds the innings together.
Taylor at 3 and again just told to play his game, but prize his wicket and remember that he can't play the big shots from ball one.
Fulton Ok at four, but would be pushed down when Styris back.
Macca finally put down, and replaced by Fulton when Styris back, or a Marshall until then. A Marshall only needs 20 odd cos it saves 20 in the field.
McCullum at 6 or Oram when he fit. Vettori at 7 (or 8 when he Oram fit) and the rest of the tail. I would leave the bowlers as is, but replace Franklin with Oram when fit and rotate Mills, Patel and Gillespie depending on conditions.
The biggest change I would make, would be to not worry about scoring 100 in the first 15. I would tell the top order to nudge it around, and only look to hit the bad ball for 4. Goal would be 2 or 3 down for 100-120 at the 30 over mark. Let the middle/lower order get the bulk of the runs, as that is where our riches are. Taylor, Fulton, Oram, McCullum and Vettori are all potential match winners and the top order with runs on the board can score readily later on.
Sport is about playing to your strengths. Our strength is our middle/lower order. Just because other teams look to get off to a flyer doesn't mean we need to. Play safe, sensibly and leave the hitting to the guys who can.
From time to time it wont work. That is obvious, but the current system hasn't worked for a long time. New Zealand and Fleming in particular used to be the innovators in the One Day game. We had to, to overcome our limitations. I think it's time to innovate again. For the sake of all New Zealand sporting fans.