Six-fest world record run-chase makes a mockery of New Zealand v Australia T20I clash

Alex Broun 16/02/2018
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The official rule is no boundary on a cricket field can be less than 65 metres.

But after the T20I slogathon at Eden Park, where Australia set a world record for easily chasing down New Zealand’s massive target of 244, someone needs to get out the tape measure.

There were 32 sixes hit in the match, which finished an over early as Australia only needed 19 of their 20 overs to achieve the record mark. So that’s a six on average every seven balls.

With so many balls going into the crowd it’s not surprising one lucky punter picked up NZ$50,000 (Dh135k) from a local sponsor for a one-handed catch.

He was lucky he was the first as somebody else did it on the last ball of the match but unfortunately the sponsor only pays out on one catch per match.

Spare a thought also for Kiwi opening bowler Ben Wheeler who went for an astonishing 0-64 of 3.1 overs.

That’s an average of 3.36 a ball – and the fifth worst bowling figures in the history of T20.

If he had finished the over he certainly would have had the worse.

In the end you can’t blame him for bowling two waist high full tosses at the start of his final over to be no-balled out of the match.

Anything to stop bowling.

Trent Boult then took over to finish the over and went for 12 runs off five balls and took a wicket – so that meant the stats for the over were: one over, two bowlers, 25 runs, three catches (two off no-balls), and one wicket.

As Kane Williamson said after the match: “It was a very good surface, small ground.” You can say that again.

Martin Guptill top scored with 104 off 54 balls (strike rate of 194.44) which in normal circumstances isn’t a bad dig.

But skipper Williamson might want to have a word with his opener for dragging the chain as no less than six of the 15 batsman who took the crease bettered that strike rate.

For New Zealand Colin Munro made 76 off 33 (SR: 230.3), Tim Seifert 12 off six (SR: 200) and Ross Taylor a whopping 17 off just six balls (SR: 283.33).

The Aussies made those run-rates look distinctly glacial: Dave Warner 59 off just 24 (SR: 245.83), Glenn Maxwell 31 off 14 (SR: 221.42) and Aaron Finch 36 off 14 also (SR: 257.14), including the six that won the game.

So what’s the beef? T20 is meant to be all action, plenty of runs, lots of wickets – certainly no one could have left Eden Park saying they were bored.

But cricket is also meant to be a contest between bat and ball and this clearly wasn’t that.

True New Zealand bowled badly. They went for 18 wides and two no-balls, which meant two free hits – 13 runs in total – but it’s not surprising with this kind of hitting the bowlers got a bit crease-shy.

It was the sort of game when the captain tosses you the ball – and you feel like tossing it back.

NZ cricket will point to the fact they had the biggest crowd at Eden Park since the World Cup, cricket’s not rugby, and England will be happy that they can still sneak in the Tri-Series final – thanks to the Aussies coming out on top.

But when the talk is of boundary sizes rather than boundaries something is definitely wrong.

As one wag on Twitter notes: “To be fair, my backyard cricket set up has bigger boundaries than this field.”

Even the official Cricket Australia twitter feed couldn’t keep a straight face, posting a run rate comparison with the words: “This is ridiculous.”

If the ICC rebukes Bangladesh for a sub-par wicket in Chittagong, where batsmen plundered more than 1,500 runs in the recent Bangladesh-Sri Lanka series (Sri Lanka declared at 713 for nine in their first and only innings) then surely New Zealand deserve a similar reprimand.

Final word goes to legendary India cricket commentator Harsha Boghle who tweeted: “Two scores of 240+ in New Zealand in the last two months. Am going to put up a red flag. Flat pitches, small grounds, sixes for fun will make T20 boring. A six has to be an event not a default shot.”

You have to agree.

But get set for more “fun” because guess where the final of the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series is set for on February 21. You got it? Eden Park.

Those sponsors better get ready to pay out another $50k.

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Australia make Twenty20 history with highest-ever run-chase in win over New Zealand

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Australia completed the highest run chase in Twenty20 history to beat New Zealand by five wickets and maintain their unbeaten record in the T20 tri-series in Auckland on Friday.

In a roller-coaster match, the Black Caps set an imposing target of 244 on the back of opener Martin Guptill’s century but the australians overhauled it with seven balls to spare.

A combination of Eden Park’s short boundaries and a flat pitch produced a batsman’s paradise that frustrated bowlers from both sides and set records tumbling.

Australia’s total of five for 245 exceeds the previous record chase of 244 scored by India against the West Indies in 2016.

The unlucky Guptill also become international T20’s highest run scorer after making 105 off 54 balls.

It took his international T20 career total to 2,188 runs, surpassing compatriot Brendon McCullum’s 2,140, with India’s Virat Kohli the next highest on the all-time list with 1,956.

Guptill’s 49-ball century was New Zealand’s fastest T20 ton and the team total of 243 equalled the highest posted by the Black Caps.

The match also had its share of bizarre moments, including New Zealand batsman Mark Chapman’s dismissal, when a fizzing Billy Stanlake ball knocked off his helmet and sent it rolling into the stumps.

The umpires also ordered Black Cap seamer Ben Wheeler out of the attack after two high no-balls, with the unfortunate bowler conceding 64 runs off 3.1 overs.

Australia have already reached the series final in Auckland next Wednesday, with four wins from four in preliminary matches.

New Zealand’s hopes of reaching the decider now rest on their meeting with England in Hamilton on Sunday.

Guptill plundered nine sixes and six fours after New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat, supported by fellow opener Colin Munro, who made 76 off 33 balls.

Australia made a flying start in reply, with openers David Warner and D’arcy Short racing to 51 without loss after four overs.

Warner’s half-century came off just 20 balls and the partnership reached 121 before spinner Ish Sodhi bowled the Australian captain on 59.

His departure did not slow down Short, who anchored the innings with 76 from 44 to earn the man-of-the match award.

He said the Australians were not overawed chasing such a large total.

“We have the firepower to do it, we knew that,” he said.

“We knew we had to go out hard and get ourselves a start and everyone had to get going when they came in.”

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Ishant Sharma secures maiden county stint after signing with Sussex

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Ishant will turn out for Sussex in the English county season.

Ishant Sharma will turn up for Sussex for the first two months of the 2018 season after securing his maiden county stint with the English outfit.

The 29-year-old bowler went unsold in the recently concluded IPL auctions and thus remained available for the beginning of the county season in April.

The India man has been picked up as an overseas player by Sussex to cope with the absence of Jofra Archer who will remain unavailable during the IPL due to his commitments with Rajasthan Royals.

Ishant will become the second Indian to sign up with a county side this season after Cheteshwar Pujara had earlier been picked up by Yorkshire. Pujara too, had gone unsold in the IPL auction.

“Securing Ishant’s services has been very important for us. Once Jofra (Archer) and Chris (Jordan) were picked up in the IPL draft, it became crucial to sign an experienced international-quality seam bowler who could provide valuable support and know-how to the rest of the seamers,” Sussex’s director of cricket Keith Greenfield said.

“Ishant has the attributes to be very successful in early season English conditions and a great role model. He fits the bill perfectly and we look forward to welcoming him to Sussex Cricket,” he added.

Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie too welcomed Ishant onboard and was happy to have secured the experienced head’s services.

“We’re delighted to secure the services of an experienced and very skilful international seamer,” he stated.

On his part, Ishant sounded excited about his maiden England stint and thanked Sussex for believing in his abilities.

“It’s a great honour to represent Sussex CCC, the oldest first-class county, and I am looking forward with excitement to my maiden stint in county cricket,” the club’s press release quoted the Indian pacer as saying.

“I would like to extend a special thanks to Sussex for taking note of my ongoing performances and deeming me suitable for this opportunity. I hope to add value during my time as part of the Sussex family this season,” it went on to add.

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