Martin Devlin: We are not going to win tonight

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 12:42PM

It's the hope that kills.

The possibility that it might just happen. The chance, however remote, that it could all come right.

Of course, I'm talking about the Black Caps last night. Making batting look as difficult as it's ever been on a pitch everyone thought was perfect for the purpose. 

All day waiting for kick-off. The nervous tension, the apprehension. The anticipation, the expectation. Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Or maybe the better question is: why do we continue to do it?

Because the outcome is mostly always the same. The disappointment will come, it's just been delayed this time. The inevitability of defeat only adds to the pain. Unless of course you're the sort of fool that still believes.

You know how this goes, if we can get a quick 30 or more off the last 23 balls, then they lose a couple early, the pitch starts to play up and, and...who knows?

Look. Stop it. Stop it right there. Don't do it to yourself. We are not winning this game. There, I said it. We are not winning and deep down you know it.

And there's a very good reason for that. Let me spell this out very clearly so there can be no doubt at all where we sit.

T-H-E-Y A-R-E T-O-O G-O-O-D. It's that simple. They are just a much better team than us. In fact so infinitely superior I don't know why we ever kidded ourselves that this time was going to be any different. This is the eighth time we've made the CWC semi-finals. In the previous seven we've won just once and that was in 2015.

South Africa was totally dominating us that day until the rain came. The confusion caused by constant interruption, reduced overs and rearranged run-rate played perfectly into our hands. Not quite the same scenario unfolding overnight at Old Trafford, same department store just a different floor.

Our best bet is that we set them something over 240 to chase. Twenty years ago that might've been a competitive score. But not against an Indian line-up that hits 300+ for fun. At a ground where runs come easier than Mark Nicholas clichés. 

Repeat after me: We are not going to win tonight. Turn off Optimistic Avenue and park beside me here in Pessimistic Place. It's just easier that way.

Because otherwise there's hope. That stupid old foolish folly called hope.  The reason why against all my own advice I, like you, will still be tuning in.

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