Saturday, February 1, 2020

Another Super Over, another Kiwi loss - Wellington T20I


Who cares for the toss when there is Super Over ??

Perseverance and not-giving up can take one to greater heights – is what is often said .. .. no further proof than 3rd & 4th T20I at New Zealand.

Wellington  is the capital and second-most populous urban area of New Zealand.  It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. It is named after Wellesley – and here is some Indian connection !  Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852)  was an Anglo-Irish soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. He won a notable victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.  He was a colonel by 1796 and saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general, won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803. .. .. not a History post anyway ! ~ but on the dejection and despair of Kiwis and the way their Press has reacted !!


At Wellington today, India resting Rohit Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Ravi Jadeja  were 6- 88 in the 12th  over before Manish Pandey and Thakur arrested the slide in a 43-run stand with Thakur contributing 20.  The target of 166 was well within range and looked all but achieved when NZ were steady in their chase.  After Jasprit Bumrah finished his spell, it was 11 runs required of 12 balls with 7 wickets in hand. It is only the team chasing that can win ! – there was Ross Taylor who has played more T20 matches than the rest of his combined .. .. Navdeep Saini bowled a great over giving away just 4 runs – yet it was 7 off six balls. 

Seven runs needed off six balls. Seven wickets in hand. Ross Taylor, who has played more T20 matches than the rest of his side combined, on strike. Surely, New Zealand couldn't lose from that kind of position again, right? Think again.

Bumrah finished,  no Shami today, and it was Shardul Thakur. Experienced Ross Taylor on strike – 7 wickets in hand. First ball, Taylor lofted it high, Shreyas Iyer covered distance and caught with both hands.  Daryl Mitchell comes to face his first ball, lofts over mid-off for a four. Just 3 needed off 4 with 6 wickets in hand. Next ball they tried sneaking a bye and KL Rahul hit the stumps at keeper’s end – Seifert had fallen short, after good 57 off 39 balls.  Santner came in, pulled the short ball for a single – 2 off 2. Thakur bowled a knuckle ball, Mitchell lofted it on the off – Shivam Dube completed another catch.  Last ball, Samson’s throw from deep caught Santner out after completion of a single – so yet another tie ! ~ a tie from a situation where they could not lose.

They lost again in the Super Over – and the NZ press was really screaming - Give the Black Caps some credit – at least they're finding innovative, entertaining ways to lose cricket matches. In a game which started in January and ended in February, New Zealand ushered in the new month by absurdly being beaten in yet another Super Over, for a second straight game.  After the horror in Hamilton, this time it was the wreck in Wellington, as the Black Caps lost four wickets in the final over to be consigned to another Super Over, where, surprise surprise, they lost again, succumbing to their fate at the appropriately nonsensical time of 12.10am, wrote Stuff.co.nz.

Only today, Black Caps coach Gary Stead defended his decisions during his side's dramatic Twenty20 Super Over defeat against India on Wednesday night.  On that day, Black Caps wasted a stunning innings from captain Kane Williamson at Seddon Park, being unable to score two runs from the final four balls of their chase of India's 179-5, and eventually heading to their third Super Over in six months. There, despite scoring 17 in their turn at bat, Tim Southee couldn't restrict India, with Rohit Sharma blasting two sixes when needing 10 off two balls to send New Zealand to another demoralising defeat, one which clinched the series for India.  Southee has now bowled in five Super Overs for New Zealand, losing his last four and conceding 13, 19, 17 and 20 runs in those losses. However, Stead wasn't about to second-guess the decision to back his senior bowler in the decider. "Tim sticks his hand up, he's very much a team-first player, he missed on a couple [deliveries] and if one hit the guy in the boot we wouldn't be having this conversation. That's the fine margins of the T20 game. The other strategic move that came under scrutiny in Hamilton was the elevation of Mitchell Santner to bat at number four. It didn't work, with Santner mustering just nine off 11 balls, but Stead explained that the surprise move was planned for the left-hander to try and change India's spin bowling strategies.

Today, all they  needed was three measly runs, from four measly balls, but the Black Caps completely butchered the final stages once more, crumbling down in an array of skied shots and run outs. Mitchell Santner required two runs off the final ball, but could only slap it to deep point for a single, and once the Super Over began, the Wellington crowd may as well have gone home.

Tim Seifert, Colin Munro and Ross Taylor made 13 from their allotted six balls – aided by two dropped catches – but for the fifth time in his career, Tim Southee couldn't come up trumps with the ball, as KL Rahul bashed 10 off the first two balls before Virat Kohli did the rest, taking another victory to go 4-0 up in a series which keeps getting worse for the Black Caps. Not only was the final over disastrous, and the Super Over worse, but it once again should never have got to that point. At one stage, the Black Caps needed just 12 from 14 balls, with seven wickets in hand, but they were unable to overhaul India's mediocre 165-8.

Despair of NZ is fully understood – what could have been 2-2 is now 0-4 for them.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st Jan 2020.


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