Taylor, McClenaghan return in victorious North Island side
North Island 127 for 4 (Worker 53, Henry 3-22) beat South Island 126 (Brownlie 29, Sodhi 4-24) by six wickets
North Island breezed to victory in the Island of Origin T20, bowling out South Island for 126 and then chasing the target down with six wickets and seven overs to spare. While the North took away bragging rights without a doubt, most New Zealand cricket fans would be equally relieved to have Ross Taylor and Mitchell McClenaghan back in action with the World T20 around the corner. Both Taylor and McClenaghan had not played top-flight cricket due to injury since the limited-overs games against Pakistan over a month ago - Taylor had suffered a muscle tear in his left side, while McClenaghan was recovering after being struck on the face by a ball that burst through his helmet.
South Island chose to bat in the one-off T20, and were given a sprightly start by Tom Latham and Dean Brownlie, getting to 35 in three and a half overs. That's when the pair was separated, and from thereon, the South could not string together anything resembling a steady partnership. Fast man Adam Milne and seam-bowling allrounder Jimmy Neesham combined with the legspin of Ish Sodhi to knock over regular wickets as no partnership thereafter crossed 16. Even McClenaghan chipped in with a late wicket as the South were bowled out for 126 with four balls to spare.
Tearaway Matt Henry, the most effective of the South's bowlers, did strike an early blow - he had Anton Devcich caught for 6 - but a 63-run stand followed between George Worker (53) and Colin Munro to give the chase a solid base. The foundations of that base were severely rocked when Henry returned to have Munro and Grant Elliott (out for a duck) both caught behind in the ninth over, reducing the North to 87 for 4, but Taylor was at hand to steer them home. He struck 26 off 16 with three fours as the North romped home in 13 overs.