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September 29, 2013
When Otago needed 65 runs off the final five overs in their chase of 168, with only four wickets in hand, it looked like Lions had won the game in Jaipur. But James Neesham managed to take it to the Super Over. When Otago had got only seven runs off the first five balls of the Super Over, they looked in bad shape again. But Brendon McCullum charged down to convert one of many good deliveries from Sohail Tanvir into a full toss and hit it for six to give them a defendable 13. When Lions needed only three off the final three deliveries of their over, it seemed the game had finally got away from Otago. But the fielders and Neesham held their nerve, again.
In the end, captain McCullum said, for them it came down to the confidence gleaned from their 14-match winning run in T20s which ended with this tie. "I think it's the luxury of winning all the games on the bounce, it breeds confidence," McCullum said after victory was secured via a superior boundary count. "The guys get pretty composed in the middle and are backing their ability."
They might have been clear in their mind as to what was needed to be done, but the nerves were still jangling, McCullum admitted: "I don't know about calm. I played about three dots and in the Super Over [and that] wouldn't have gone down that well. I missed two really good balls from Tanvir to start the over and at the end was fortunate to get one away."
Neesham, who had thumped 52 off 25 to get it to the Super Over, was entrusted with bowling it for Otago. He didn't bowl the best of overs, dishing out several length deliveries but, as he said later, it was just his day. "Everyone has their day I guess. I guess it was just my day. Someone new stood up in each game, so I guess it was my turn."
He mirrored McCullum's thoughts, saying that the situation was tense but he didn't let that get to him. "Did I look calm? Got to be cool on the outside and not let on, and just be clear in your plans and go forth from there. I think this feeling will linger for a while."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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