Reopening memories of the epic ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 final in July this year, England trumped New Zealand after a Super Over once again – this time in the deciding T20I of the five-match series at Auckland's Eden Park.
Early showers delayed the toss, truncating the game to 11-overs-a-side. When play finally began, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro handed New Zealand a fiery start, racing off to 55/0 in the three allotted Powerplay overs. Guptill led the charge with clean hits to the leg side, clearing away anything in his arc to bring up a 19-ball 50, his joint-fastest in T20Is.
Munro (46) slowed down a tad after Guptill’s exit, but that didn't prevent him from becoming the fourth batsman to hit 100 sixes in T20Is. A combined nine sixes by the openers helped New Zealand to 83/0 after five overs, but England did well to give away only 12 runs from the next two overs.
A late cameo by Tim Seifert (39* off 16) then helped New Zealand collect 51 off the final four overs, as they ended on 146.
In response, England were pushed on the backfoot early, with New Zealand imposing a ‘full and straight’ policy on the openers. Cramping the batsmen for room, the Kiwi opening pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult snared Tom Banton and James Vince in the first seven balls, leaving England at 9/2.
Jonny Bairstow did not let the double-strike derail the chase, resuscitating the dipping run-flow by deftly piercing gaps, especially behind the wicket. A 30-run stand with Eoin Morgan (17) helped chart a mini-recovery, but the England captain departed in the last over of the Powerplay, with the side requiring 108 off the final eight.
Sam Curran brought in a free-flowing spirit, carting Kuggeleijn for 20 runs off four balls; it opened the floodgates, as Bairstow matched him with three consecutive sixes off Ish Sodhi. The fifth and sixth overs produced 44 runs, just over 30% of the target, and brought England right back into the game.
A change of bowling, in the form of James Neesham and Mitchell Santner from either end, reaped benefits; Neesham sent back Bairstow, and Santner cleverly got rid of Sam Curran and Lewis Gregory, to keep the see-saw battle going.
With 36 needed in three, Tom Curran tried a few adventurous scoops with varying success, but kept chipping away, with Sam Billings at the other end. The two eventually needed 16 runs off the last over – the same equation as in the World Cup final.
Neesham gave away only three off his first three balls, also getting rid of Tom Curran in that time. But he lost his way thereafter, with Chris Jordan’s first three balls - a six, a two, and a four, levelling the scores and pushing the game into the Super Over.
Morgan and Bairstow slammed two sixes in the Super Over to set up an 18-run target. Jordan, however, gave little away - Seifert, opening with Guptill, carved out a four through covers off the second ball, but departed to an excellent diving catch by Morgan, leaving the Kiwis with 11 off the last two. They eventually fell short by nine runs.
Photos from ICC and New Zealand Cricket (NZC)