01 October 2012 - 07:33pm IST
by Anand Vasu in Pallekele
that began with low-grade cricket from both teams ended in a high-intensity tie
that was followed by a Super Over in which West Indies knocked New Zealand out
of the ICC World Twenty20 2012. For the second time in the tournament, New
Zealand found itself at the wrong end of a Super Over, and its campaign ended
without a single win in the Super Eights.
action heated up only in the final over of the New Zealand chase, with 14 still
needed to reach the 140 needed for victory. Marlon Samuels, who had not bowled
a single over in the game till that point, speared his darts into Ross Taylor’s
pads. After deflecting one to short fine-leg, where it was misfielded by Sunil
Narine, and working another through the on-side for a brace, Taylor struck
gold, scoop-sweeping Samuels over fine-leg for six. With three needed off two
balls, Taylor got off strike with a single, and Doug Bracewell was left to take
the final ball.
field remained well spread, and when Bracewell worked the ball to the on-side,
a win seemed to be on the cards. As the batsmen scampered the second, a
powerful throw cannoned into the stumps, leaving the game tied.
another surprising move, Darren Sammy overlooked Narine to bowl the Super Over,
handing the ball again to Samuels. Narine, who had figures of 4-0-20-3 could
only watch as Taylor and Brendon McCullum attacked Samuels, picking up a
scooped boundary off the fourth ball and a massive six over mid-wicket off the
to win, but technically only needing 17 (West Indies would’ve gone through by
virtue of having hit more boundaries in the regular game if the Super Over
finished with scores level), Gayle went to work against Tim Southee. The first
ball, a huge no-ball, was struck brutally over long-off for a six. Even with the
free-hit delivery not yielding much, the pressure was on, and Southee delivered
a wide to make matters worse.
Samuels, who had suddenly become the afternoon’s chief protagonist, clobbered
Southee over mid-wicket for six off the penultimate ball, West Indies had gone
through with a ball to spare.
the drama of the Super Over, the original 20-over game seemed like something
from a different age. Taylor won an important toss and fielded first, even
though he was without lead spinner Daniel Vettori, who suffered some Achilles
tendon stiffness in his left leg after the previous game. Fortunately for New
Zealand, Jacob Oram had recovered sufficiently from a stomach bug.
Charles was the first West Indian batsman to stutter, playing seven dot balls
in his brief stay at the crease before presenting Doug Bracewell with a return
catch. The early fall of Charles did little to hinder Chris Gayle, who picked
off Kyle Mills, effortlessly lofting the bowler back over his head for six. Not
much later, when Oram served up a full-toss on a free hit, Gayle smacked the
ball into the stands over square-leg to bring up his 300th Twenty20
Gayle bludgeoning away, West Indies seemed in pole position, especially when
they ended the Power Play overs at 60 for two. Andre Russell had been and gone,
throwing away a great opportunity by tucking a leg-side short ball straight to
Gayle fell, caught behind off Southee after a 14-ball 30, he had given West Indies
the start it needed. What he would not have counted on was a distinct lack of
application from those who followed. Samuels was a case in point.
In the 11th over,
Nathan McCullum made an elaborate show of adjusting his field, moving Southee
to a very straight long-on position. If the
setting was unorthodox, what followed off the very next ball was downright
bizarre, with Samuels launching McCullum straight down Southee’s throat. The
fielder, stationed at his position precisely then, did not have to move a foot
sideways or forward.
Dwayne Bravo missing the game because of a groin niggle, the middle-order was
robbed of an energetic batsman, and it was only Kieron Pollard’s 22-ball 28
that lifted West Indies to 139, after it failed to bat out 20 overs.
target of 140 should not have been too much for New Zealand, but McCullum made
matters difficult by giving Samuel Badree the charge to be clean bowled. With
neither the power-hitters at the top of the order coming off, nor meaningful
partnerships being put together, it was left to Taylor to make a match of it.
so magnificently, cutting out risk and scoring off proper cricket shots to get
to an unbeaten 40-ball 62. As it turned out, he did not have enough support
from his mates, and with West Indies holding its nerve, New Zealand was knocked