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The Report by Sidharth Monga
October 1, 2012
West Indies 139 (Gayle 30, Southee 3-21, Bracewell 3-31) tied with New Zealand 139 for 7 (Taylor 62*, Samuels 3-20). West Indies won the Super Over
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
They took the New Zealand spirit, trampled on it, and handed over the broken pieces along with their boarding passes. The team that provided the most entertainment in the Super Eights, with two ties, lost both the Super Overs to end up with zero points. West Indies stayed alive, and were not leaving the ground anytime soon. They were done with their celebratory dances, and were now hoping for Sri Lanka to beat England and help them through to the semi-final.
There was no way New Zealand should have lost this, though. Not in regulation time, not in extra time. It was a day for heroes and villains, and they were often the same men. The same Tim Southee that foxed Chris Gayle and went for 3 for 21 in regulation time failed to defend 16 runs in the Super Over. The same Sunil Narine who bowled overs 17 and 19 for five runs and two wickets to keep the match alive fielded appallingly, most noticeably in the final over, allowing Ross Taylor to retain the strike, and force the tie.
What of Taylor, though? He didn't deserve to be on the losing side. He braved that inexplicable pressure his team-mates found themselves under, 127kmph darts from Marlon Samuels delivered from two steps, managed a six each in both the final over and the Super Over, posted his highest Twenty20 score as captain, and yet found himself at loss to explain what just happened to New Zealand.
Let's start with the early heroes then. Gayle was the first one, racing to 30 off 13, taking West Indies to 60 inside the Powerplay. Taylor then made his first good move, an admission that he had erred in the previous game. Doug Bracewell, who was bowled only after the match was practically lost against England, got the new ball, and got Johnson Charles and the promoted Andre Russell out in his first two overs.
For Southee, life was full of possibilities at this time. To the marauding Gayle he rolled his fingers on a short-of-a-length delivery, getting it to cut away, squaring Gayle up, taking the edge that kicked off wild celebrations, which have become the norm whenever teams dismiss Gayle before he has beaten them into submission.
Now New Zealand applied the choke hold through the spin combination of Ronnie Hira and Nathan McCullum. Even though they changed the ball just before Hira came on, a ball so new New Zealand were not happy with it, the spinners bowled eight straight overs for 43 runs and three wickets. Nathan McCullum was going to have his due villainous turn later.
Playing Darren Bravo - 16 off 21 - in place of the injured Dwayne, West Indies failed to kick on, scoring 79 for 8 in their last 13.3 overs. It was New Zealand's game to lose now. And how they lost it.
The signs were there at the start. Rob Nicol played a horrible shot moving all the way across to Ravi Rampaul: 8 for 1. Brendon McCullum then played Samuel Badree, renowned for his non-turning legbreaks, for the turn and was bowled: 41 for 2. Martin Guptill - 21 off 27 - cut a long hop straight to point: 52 for 3. James Franklin and Taylor, though, soothed the nerves, with a chipped couple here, a placed four there. When Gayle's villanous turn arrived, a 15-run 12th over, it seemed West Indies had got it all horribly wrong.
Narine, their attacking option, had bowled just one over, and New Zealand needed only a further 62 runs. Narine himself must have been under pressure after his numerous misfields. He even bowled a no-ball - also a wide - in the 13th, but he and Gayle were both about to play heroes. Off the last ball of that over, Narine induced an edge from Franklin with a carrom ball, and Gayle plucked a stunner at slip.
Taylor, though, had the chase under control. He had calculated it: he knew West Indies had two overs left from non-specialist bowlers. One of them, from Sammy, he looted for 14, bringing the equation down to 27 off 24. Narine, though, had two overs left.
Narine stopped bowling offbreaks, which the whole world knows by now that he bowls with a thumb sticking out. However, Jacob Oram failed to read the carrom ball and was out lbw. Narine was making up for his sins now. Sammy had to take the risk, leaving the last over for the non-specialist. When Narine began the 19th, New Zealand needed 17. Instead of taking six singles, Nathan McCullum tried six in one shot, and fell to the carrom ball again. The pressure was on New Zealand now.
A convention followed, with 13 to defend in the final over. Russell and Samuels were the contenders for the final over, before Samuels was given the ball. This was no easy task for Taylor: to face somebody delivering darts at around 125kmph from two steps into the blockhole. He received help from Narine, though. A hit to short fine leg would have meant game over but Narine misfielded and allowed Taylor to come back on strike. Cometh the over, cometh the innovation. Possibly for the first time in international cricket, Taylor played the ramp shot to counter the impossible Samuels trajectory, getting six over short fine leg.
Samuels held his nerve, bringing it down to two required off the last ball. West Indies were using their substitutes: Dwayne Smith was on for Ravi Rampaul. Taylor hit straight to Smith, who narrowly missed being a villain. With Taylor running for an impossible second, Smith, from deep midwicket, threw in a yorker, which Denesh Ramdin would have surely failed to collect … had it not hit the stumps direct.
For the second time in three matches, New Zealand were facing a Super Over. This time, though, Taylor got the better of Samuels with the ramp and then a huge six after he had played around with his length. Despite West Indies fielding their best substitutes for the slow men - absolutely allowed by the law - New Zealand managed 17, but West Indies only needed to level that score to win because of their better boundary count.
Southee has won matches with his yorkers in the past, including a Super Over against Australia at the Liliputian Jade Stadium in Christchurch, but he began with a no-ball here, which was also a length ball with width. Gayle clobbered it for six. Seven runs, no ball bowled. Despite a wide later in the over, Southee made a decent comeback, bringing it down to four needed of last two. Then he bowled a low full toss, which Samuels hit towards deep midwicket, missing a leaping Guptill by inches.
West Indies danced unabashedly, but when readying the ground for the next match, the groundsmen would have had to deal with pieces of broken New Zealand hearts.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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