New Zealand v Zimbabwe, 2nd Twenty20, Hamilton

A Valentines surprise

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the day from the second Twenty20 between New Zealand and Zimbabwe, in Hamilton

Andrew Fernando

February 14, 2012

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James Franklin scored a rapid half-century, New Zealand v Zimbabwe, 2nd Twenty20 international, Hamilton, February 14, 2012
James Franklin hit five sixes in his 60 © Getty Images
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The wrong ball

Hamilton Masakadza's first six of the evening was launched onto the roof of a beer stall beyond the square leg boundary, but getting it back proved more vexing than most retrievals usually are. The first man who managed to hoist himself up, picked up a ball and got it back to the bowler, only to be told it wasn't the right one. Someone else went up, had a look around and discovered the correct ball under a ledge. The previous ball had been hit onto the same roof during warm ups.

The surprise

Cricket fans who had foregone a Valentine's day date in order to watch the cricket were able to partake in the day's sentiment, thanks to the efforts of the Seddon Park groundstaff. The field had been shorn in the shape of a giant heart, and each of the white dots that comprised the 30-yard circle were also hearts. Ignoring your partner to watch sport has never been so romantic.

The mishit

When James Franklin couldn't quite get to the pitch of the last delivery of the ninth over, Ray Price thought he had a wicket. The ball seemed to travel straight up after hitting the outside part of Franklin's bat, but even the mishit was enough to clear the short boundaries at Seddon Park, sparking the mandatory discussion about the power of modern bats in the commentary box.

The throw

Zimbabwe had been woeful in the field all throughout their tour of New Zealand, and had even missed a crucial run-out opportunity off Rob Nicol earlier in the game, but Keegan Meth produced their finest bit of fielding in the final match. Franklin hit to the leg side and took off, calling for two immediately, but hesitated when Brendon McCullum was unsure at the other end. The two ended up going for it, but Meth's direct hit from square leg with one stump to aim at, found Franklin short, and brought Zimbabwe back into the match.

The celebration

When Brendon McCullum hit the first ball of the 19th over for six, New Zealand seemed destined to close out the match. He departed next ball, and when his brother Nathan was caught at the point boundary off the following delivery, momentum seemed to have swung emphatically in Zimbabwe's favour - something that was not lost on the catcher Elton Chigumbura. He began running around the boundary in absolute ecstasy, and didn't stop until his team-mates swarmed in to mob him.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and has a column here

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