World Cup final deja vu: England pip New Zealand in super over thriller to win T20I series
You almost needed to pinch yourself to belive. England and New Zealand had once again managed to stretch a match into the Super Over almost four months after that epic World Cup final at Lord’s. England won that encounter by a boundary count after both sides ended up ob level terms even after the super over. This time, the occasion was the series-deciding 5th T20I at Eden Park in Auckland. And England once again emerged victorious but the margin was clear and dare we say, bereft of any controversy.
The teams were tied when England replied with 146-7 to New Zealand’s 146-5 in a match shortened by heavy rain to 11 overs per side.
Jonny Bairstow and captain Eion Morgan took 17 runs from England’s Super Over, bowled by New Zealand captain Tim Southee, before Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert and Colin de Grandhomme managed only eight from New Zealand’s single over.
Not only the Super Over but in fact the situation leading into that was also similar to the World Cup 2019 final. England needed 15 off the last over in World Cup and this time they needed 16. Astonishingly, Ian Smith and Nasser Hussain were in the commentary box even this time around. But thankfully, there was no tie in the Super Over.
This time England’s performance in the tiebreaker was decisive.
Bairstow and Morgan both hit sixes to set New Zealand a chase for 18 runs, a total which was challenging even on the postage stamp boundaries of Eden Park.
New Zealand made the unusual decision to nominate wicket-keeper Tim Seifert to take the first ball of its Super Over, bowled by Chris Jordan. Seifert took two, left a wide, hit four and had a dot ball before falling to a brilliant catch by Morgan.
With New Zealand needing 10 runs from the last two balls Guptill could only manage a single from the first ball he faced and the match was over.
Bairstow was Man of the Match for his 47 from 18 balls which helped England match New Zealand’s formidable 11-over total and for his contribution in the Super Over.
“New Zealand’s total was pretty imposing,” Bairstow said. “To try to chase down 150 was tough but a lot of the guys played in the T10 last year and said we’re not far off here. If we can get within striking distance and with the short boundaries we’ve got a chance.” Bairstow said the close finishes in recent matches against New Zealand had been nerve-wracking.
“We don’t want to keep this happening, I don’t think anyone wants to keep that going,” he said. “But it just shows how close the sides are and how close they’ve been throughout the series.” After England won a rain-delayed toss and sent New Zealand into bat, Martin Guptill blasted 50 from 20 balls to launch the home side towards a competitive total. New Zealand was 37-0 after only two overs and reached 100 in only 7.3 overs.
England, in contrast, made a poor beginning, losing Tom Banton and James Vince within the first seven balls.
Bairstow’s innings put it back in the match and England came into the last over needing 16 runs to win.
Jordan struck a crucial six from the bowling of Jimmy Neesham, then hit a four from the last ball to tie the scores and send the match into the one-over eliminator.
(With inputs from AP)