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It couldn’t be another Super Over, could it?

November 12th, 2019Cricket

It seems a long time ago that the incredible conclusion of the ICC World Cup 2019 final played out. For the first time ever an ODI had to be settled by a Super Over after England held their nerve to equal New Zealand’s 50-over total in regulation play. The extreme drama of the following 12 balls and England’s eventual triumph as World Cup winners will live long in cricketing memories. Never again would we see such a tight contest needing to be decided by the very tightest of margins and requiring the previously almost unheard of mechanism of the Super Over. Would we?

Now New Zealand v England T20 series ends in Super Over decider
Never again until this week that is. And who were the two teams matched so evenly in a limited over contest again? Fate dictated that it had to be New Zealand and England once again.

Expat Sport reported last week that England had amassed their highest ever T20 total en route to a crucial victory that levelled the series against the Black Caps at 2-2. The decider was played out at a packed Eden Park with expectation high that something special could be on the cards.

Unfortunately, the day did not get off to a good start as bad weather delayed play, eventually curtailing the match to a highly pressured 11 overs per innings. Forget The Hundred, this was The Sixty-Six!

New Zealand went out to bat first and played as if there was no pressure at all. Guptill and Munro set about dismantling England with relative ease racking up nearly a century between them in just 41 balls. Guptill reached his half-century and Munro fell just short on 46.

De Grandhomme made a brief 8 as Seifert continued the barrage, bludgeoning a healthy 39 off just 16 balls. 

England’s bowlers shared the spoils evenly between them with both Curran’s, Rashid

Considering the situation they found themselves in, the Black Caps put on an excellent total notching up 146-5 at the end of their innings. It would be a stiff challenge for England to get over the line.

England had once again thrown the selection dice and started with a changed line up from their previous record-beating performance with Vince coming back in for imperious Malan. This series has been a testing ground for possible selection changes in advance of the T20 World Cup next year.

Young Tom Banton has been catching the selectors’ eye with his dynamic opening batting but faltered on this occasion with just 8 runs on the board. With only 66 balls to get to 146 runs, the pressure was really on and fortunately, fellow opener and uber aggressive batter, Jonny Bairstow was firing on all cylinders, knocking up a very rapid 47 off 18 balls only to fall to Seifert’s catch.

The gamble on Vince did not pay off as Southee had him caught for just 1 run. Eoin Morgan managed a fairly tame cameo of just 17 and things seem to be slipping away from England with only Sam Curran hanging around for very long.

Two wickets in two balls for Seifert in the seventh over really ratcheted up the pressure and it seemed that the rolling churn of unblooded and disjointed selections was not going to be enough to see off a powerful New Zealand.

But England continued to find a way and left themselves a doable but steep 16 to win off the last over. With only three taken off the first two balls however, Tom Curran swung the bat in hope and toe-ended a catch to third man. 13 needed off 3 balls with the new batsman, Chris Jordan facing. No sweat…

First ball - Bang - Six! Second ball he squeezed away and they ran home for two runs. Last ball, six to win, four to tie for a Super Over! Calm as you like, Jordan creamed it for four and the two teams that had been through the tumult of the World Cup Super Over found themselves right back in the same situation.

Bairstow and Morgan came back out to slog 6 balls and managed an impressive but not insurmountable 17 runs. Bairstow scored 8 with Morgan on 9.

Batting hero Jordan came back to bowl at Seifert and Guptill. His ability as a ‘death’ bowler is renowned as are his yorkers and despite bowling a wide and gifting them a run, New Zealand got themselves in a muddle. Eoin Morgan completed an amazing catch running and stretching back over his shoulder to dismiss Seifert for 6. De Grandhomme came out but Guptil and he only managed 1 run between them leaving them a full nine runs short which seemed like a huge chasm in the end. 

As England footballing legend, Gary Lineker tweeted straight after:

“England never lose Super Overs. Ever.”  

Bairstow on the win, the Super Over and looking forward to the test series.

The gamble had paid off as it seemed the luck of the Irish clung tightly to Morgan’s captaincy and England won the series 3-2 having been 2-1 down at one stage.

After the match Jonny Bairstow said:

"It's nice to get some runs today. To contribute in a shortened game was pleasing.
"It was a pretty imposing total, to try and chase down 150, but with the small boundaries, we thought we had a chance."

And commenting on the Super Over he continued: 

"We don't want to keep this happening - I don't think anyone wants to keep that going, but it just shows how close the sides are. It sets up a fantastic Test series.”

Next up is the two-match Test series starting on 21st November. Jonny Bairstow, so disappointed after having previously been dropped from the Test squad has already earned his recall as injury cover and will feature in England’s warm-up matches at the very least. His form in limited over cricket is undisputed. The real question will be if he can take that through to the Test arena and check his natural aggression, long enough to play himself in.

Expat Sport will follow England’s tour of New Zealand with interest.