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The Big Six: England triumph over New Zealand in another Super Over thriller

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner 3 minute read

Ben Gardner picks out six balls that defined England’s thrilling triumph over New Zealand in the fifth T20I, as they claimed the five-match series by a 3-2 margin.

Colin crunches Curran

0.6 Sam Curran to Colin Munro, SIX

Up top, Sam Curran’s strength is his swing. It’s what brought him early rewards in the first two T20Is, with the left-armer claiming 2-14 in his first two overs across both games. The caveat is, if the ball doesn’t talk, or there’s something stopping him from firing it full, he can be lined up, and that was the case at Eden Park. He dropped short at first, wary of the short straight boundaries, and was hit for two fours. When he finally pitched it up, Colin Munro smashed him back over his head with minimal fuss. The first of a staggering 14 sixes in the innings had been struck.

Mahmood makes his mark

4.2 Saqib Mahmood to Colin Munro, FOUR

Of all of England’s debutants on this tour, Saqib Mahmood has found the step up to international cricket the toughest. Before this game, his eight overs had cost 95 runs, and Sky Sports commentator David Lloyd had suggested before play that he “looks like a red-ball bowler”. His second ball here showed both how misfortune can follow the downtrodden, and that decisive assessments might be too hasty, with a sharp bumper top-edged over the keeper for four. It was just about the first ball a Black Caps batsman had mistimed all innings.

Rashid keeps it tight

5.1, Martin Guptill c Tom Banton b Adil Rashid, 50 (20)

Adil Rashid’s second over would end as the only one of the day to not feature a boundary, and it started with the vital scalp of Martin Guptill, for a 20-ball 50. With some of the shortest straight boundaries in world cricket, by rights Eden Park should be a spinners’ graveyard. But Rashid held his nerve, forced the batsmen to hit to the leg-side, and reaped the rewards.

Banton and Bairstow bamboozled by ball-tracking

0.5, Tom Banton LBW b Trent Boult, 7 (4)

Maybe the right decision was reached in the end. Or maybe it wasn’t. The point is, even after multiple replays of two different deliveries, no one was quite sure. Whatever the reality, Tom Banton was sent on his way, and England had lost a wicket inside the first over, when they would have been desperate for a fast start.

The Sam Curran gamble pays off

4.1, Scott Kuggeleijn to Sam Curran, FOUR

While keeping in mind this was a mindless 11-over slog at the end of a pointless T20I series, designed for testing out combinations and blooding new players, this felt like a big call. Promoting Sam Curran to No.5, ahead of Sam Billings and Lewis Gregory, who were presumably picked for exactly this type of situation, was quite the show of faith. Should he have eaten up too many balls, Gregory, whose opportunities on this tour have already been limited, would have had reason to feel aggrieved, and after leaving his first – yes, seriously – and nudging singles off his next two, the pressure was on. With his eye in, Curran then carved two fours and two sixes off his next four balls, ending with a customary club over long-off. A trio of Bairstow sixes later, England had their noses in front.

By the barest of Morgans

Super Over, 0.4, Tim Seifert c Eoin Morgan b Chris Jordan

It was a winner-takes-all clash between New Zealand and England, and Ian Smith was on commentary, and this is 2019, the year conventional cricketing logic died, so of course it went to a Super Over. For a time, too, it seemed like our old friend boundary count might be needed again, though this time New Zealand had their noses in front. With 11 needed off three balls, Tim Seifert went big, and as it hung in the air for an age, and Morgan desperately tracked underneath it, the ball seemed destined to fall safe, and for the drama to continue for a couple more balls. But few have ever seemed so analytically in control of their own destinies as England’s captain, and he dove and claimed an over-the-shoulder catch that even Chris Jordan, the bowler on this occasion, would have been proud of.

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