The regulation time on the cricket field has not been enough to identify the winner between New Zealand and England this year. On July 14th, 2019, the two sides played a thrilling World Cup final which ended in a tie. Barely four months later, in a different format, different continent, with different set of players and the series tied at 2-2, these two teams played another exhilarating final leaving nothing to separate between them after the regulation course of play.
For New Zealand, unfortunately, the result was reminiscent of the final. England scored 17 runs in the super over with Jonny Bairstow and a disappointed Eoin Morgan at the crease who went back to the hut shaking his head. The Kiwis started positively hinting at consolation win after the World Cup heartbreak when Tim Seifert brought down the deficit to 11 runs from four balls but a bad decision to attempt a reverse scoop off a straight ball from Chris Jordan pushed the home side on the heels. New Zealand fell nine runs short, losing one wicket for eight runs.
Earlier in the day, England captain, Morgan, well aware of the statistics of the ground where Australia chased down a record 243 against New Zealand last year won the toss and elected to field first before rain curtailed the match to a 11-over contest.
While the New Zealand openers, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro began their innings in the fifth gear, it took some time for the English pacers to get adjusted to the dynamics of a 11-over contest. Each one of Sam Curran, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan served benign length deliveries allowing New Zealand to race to 83 for no loss in the first five overs. Guptill continuing his good form from the last two T20Is finally gave himself an opportunity to raise his bat with a 19-ball fifty.
But he would still be disappointed to fall to another innocuous delivery in the series when he hit an Adil Rashid delivery with the lower end of his bat to find Tom Banton patrolling the mid-wicket boundary. That is where the Kiwis lost the momentum as well. After scoring 83 from the 30 balls before Guptill’s dismissal, Blackcaps could only manage 63 from the next 35 deliveries after his departure. Munro and Tim Seifert scored 46 and 39 respectively, both at a strike-rate in excess of 200 but Kiwis were aware that 146 might not be enough at this ground, especially after the start they got.
England’s start, however, suggested otherwise. They lost three early wickets before Bairstow (47) and Sam Curran (24) brought them back into the game with a 61-run partnership off 24 balls. Their partnership included 42 runs off two overs, 20 from the fifth over of the innings from Scott Kuggeleijn and 22 from the subsequent one from Ish Sodhi which brought England’s innings back on track.
Three wickets in the next two overs balanced the see-saw again until it came down to 16 runs in the final over. Two, one, wicket. Three good deliveries from James Neesham suggested that the Kiwis will hold their nerves this time but Chris Jordan brought the equation down to seven runs from two deliveries with a first ball six. Two runs from the next ball was followed by a boundary off a poor last delivery ending the game in a tie.
A sheepish smile on Neesham’s face indicated that neither him nor the crowd could believe what had just happened.
The super over from this occasion drew some parallels from the one in the World Cup final. Just like the one in the final, there was a Barbados’ born English seamer bowling the final over. The fate once again put Martin Guptill in the middle of a failed super over run-chase and a trophy once again slipped away from New Zealand despite not losing the contest in the regulation time.