Tomorrow's India vs Ireland Group B clash in Napier could well see big runs from both sides
Hamilton: Seddon Park is among the smaller grounds in world cricket with a capacity of just 10,200. The seating capacity is one-third (3200) with the rest of the ground being surrounded by grass embankments without seats.
The South Africa vs Zimbabwe World Cup game in progress at Seddon Park, Hamilton on February 15. Pic/Getty Images
But that does not mean the thrill in tomorrow’s India vs Ireland Group B game will be any less. In fact, the smaller the ground, the more excitement in today’s times of extra-ordinary strokeplay.
And curator Karl Johnson has promised a belter for Tuesday. "The brief from ICC (International Cricket Council) is very clear – produce good batting tracks with not too much seam movement for the bowlers.
So, the pitch for the India-Ireland game should have a lot of runs in it. Given that South Africa scored 339-4 against Zimbabwe and the latter came close to chasing it down (277 all out) in one of the recent World Cup matches here, another 300-plus total is a definite possibility on Tuesday.
"The average score for our domestic matches held year-round is around 280," Johnson, who has been in charge of Seddon Park for the last 14 years, told mid-day here yesterday.
Johnson (43), who goes by the nickname KJ, is also in-charge of the nearby Waikato Stadium that hosts rugby matches. But Seddon Park, home ground of the Northern Districts team, is where he spends most of his time. "It has taken us around 14 days to prepare this pitch.
It is a natural strip unlike Auckland and Wellington where drop-in pitches are used. We have nine pitches here but only three will be used (one for each match) at this World Cup.
It’s a very true wicket. While the batsmen have an edge, a bowler can also get quite a bit out of it if he’s willing to bend his back. So no team – batting first or second – has an advantage really," added Johnson.
The venue has been assigned three World Cup matches – SA vs Zimbabwe (February 15), India vs Ireland and New Zealand vs Bangladesh (March 13). Of these, the first game did not witness a full house, but the next two have already been sold out. Craig Morton, Local Organising Committee events director informed: "Tickets here range from a modest NZ$ 5 (R250) to NZ$40 (R2000 approx), but even then the SA-Zimbabwe match didn’t sell out completely.
"Thanks to a good Indian population in nearby Auckland, the March 10 game is fully booked. Also, this is New Zealand’s only match here so that has drawn in the crowds too."
Total number of runs scored in the South Africa vs Zimbabwe game at Seddon Park in Hamilton on February 15