A five match T20 series is a novelty. In fact it’s the first series of this size to be held between two test playing nations (Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu got there first).
Naturally this has raised the heckles of some (although the crowds have been good) but it should be noted that these are in lieu of an ODI series and not tests.
For all the format’s drawbacks, this five match series takes up only nine days in the season.
But it’s still a format that a lot of people haven’t really got their heads around. Perhaps a series like this will provide people with some answers.
What’s a good score?
Do you rotate a bowler after he’s had a good over, or do you try to bowl him out?
Is 15 off 7 better or worse than 35 off 30?
Where is the best place to bat Ross Taylor?
Who knew New Zealand had won its last 5 T20s at Westpac Stadium?
One thing that remains constant across all formats is that catches are important. There’s even a cliché about something to do with catches winning matches.
Seifert was dropped on 9 and Guptill on 22 and 25 the following over. The chances were increasingly difficult but they did mean New Zealand finished the PowerPlay on 53/1.
Neesham would also benefit when on 4 in a significant moment and, hilariously, Southee in the final over.
Seifert’s luck ran out soon after when he tried one of those scoop-lap-flick things and was caught behind. Guptill followed for 41 before the halfway mark, falling to a Rashid long-hop, but by that time Big Col was in.
He was in for a good time, and not a long one. When he went, surprised by Gregory’s pace he’d made 28 from 12; a good example of a T20 innings that’s hard to rank.
The innings meandered for a while until some clever hitting took New Zealand to 176. Pat Brown endured the cricketer’s version of The Difficult Second Album. But James Vince probably had the worse day.
After some early wickets Eoin Morgan looked as if he was going to run the total down on his own (is 32 from 17 a good innings?) but Big Col showed how to take a catch in the deep to put a stop to that.
In fact his position at long-on became a specialist catching position, while Guptill also pulled off a screamer to get rid of Malan.
Chris Jordan kept it interesting for a while by vandalising Ish Sodhi’s figures. His first 20 balls; 3/15. Last 4 balls 0/22. It finished, inevitably when he was caught on the boundary by Guptill.
In the end the difference was the catching.