The first-ever tied-T20I to be decided in Super Overs was between West Indies and New Zealand in Auckland in 2008, which they lost. This was to become a trend as New Zealand continued to lose games that went beyond the wire. So far, they have been part of 6 such games and lost 5. Add the only 50-over match to be decided via Super Over—the 2019 World Cup final—and there is adequate proof to suggest the Kiwis’ deep-lying vulnerability in games that go into Super Over. Worst still, in many of the matches, the Kiwis had no business in letting the contest drift into such an eventuality. Over to New Zealand’s Super Over syndrome.
New Zealand vs West Indies (Auckland), 2008
Super Over target (chasing): 26 runs
Fall guy: Daniel Vettori
The New Zealand skipper volunteered to bowl the first-ever Super Over, but with the disastrous implications. Chris Gayle, his future Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate creamed three sixes and a four to plunder 25 runs. The Kiwis didn’t have the ammo, and Sulieman Benn, the beanpole left-arm spinner, ended their response in four balls. But New Zealand could have finished the game in the stipulated overs, but for a wayward over by Tim Southee, who in the years to come would turn out to be their Super Over tragi-hero. West Indies required six off the last two balls with the No 9 and 10 at the crease, but Southee’s harmless half-volley found the fence. It then required a lung-busting intervention by Jacob Oram to prevent the last ball from crashing into the point fence.
Southee slips up
New Zealand vs West Indies, 2012 T20 World Cup, Kandy
Super Over target (defending): 15 runs
Fall guy: Tim Southee
On a sluggish strip in Kandy, New Zealand thought they had enough runs to defend, but Tim Southee got them off to the worst possible start. A six off a no-ball. Though he responded strongly, conceding not a single boundary in the four balls, a low full-toss off the fifth ball, was all Marlon Samuels required to wrap up the match. As in the first match, New Zealand had themselves to blame for the swamp they found themselves waddling. At one stage, they required only 27 runs off 24 balls with six wickets intact. But they managed only 13 off the next 18 balls, which meant they required 14 off the last over. Ross Taylor took them close, they needed two off the last ball, and they seemed they would sneak in. But Dwayne Smith’s direct hit from the deep caught Doug Bracewell short of the crease.
Malinga, too hot to handle
Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, 2012 T20 World Cup, Kandy
Super Over target (chasing): 14 runs
Fall guys: Tim Southee, Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill
Six shots, six mishits. Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill were frozen by the sheer pace and skill of Lasith Malinga. No, none of them were his trademark curling yorkers, but wide full balls. But still, they cracked. This time, though, it wasn’t the usual narrative of them squandering an advantage, but a case of them forcing the match into a shootout with some smart death-over bowling. Southee, conceded seven in the 18th, James Franklin dismissed Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thisara Perera in the next, before Southee kept his nerves (for a change) in the last over.
Southee, expensive again
New Zealand vs England, Auckland 2019
Super Over target (chasing): 17 runs
Fall guy: Tim Southee
Two yorkers, two nearly yorkers and two yorkers gone wrong. Jonny Bairstow blasted a pair of sixes off the two misfired yorkers to lift England. The latter’s looked shaky in defence, Chris Jordan was wayward, but England’s agile fielding sprung to their rescue. Especially Eoin Morgan, who ran back to pluck a stunning catch to dismiss Tim Seifert. One boundary is all they managed. Could New Zealand have pouched the match before? Yes. Jimmy Neesham bled 10 off last balls.
Sharma, six on demand
New Zealand vs India, Hamilton 2020
Super Over target (defending): 18
Fall guy: Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
Incredibly, New Zealand keeps entrusting Tim Southee with Super Over duties, and invariably he comes up the second best. On this occasion at least, he seemed on a mission to atone, only for Rohit Sharma to spoil his night. Requiring to defend off the last two balls, Southee’s nerves snap, yet again, as Rohit creams successive sixes. But you could empathise with him, for he couldn’t have in this spot if his batsmen had done their job. If they can’t knock 9 off the last over, 2 off the last three balls, Southee shouldn’t be held scapegoat for this defeat.
England vs New Zealand, Lord’s World Cup 2019 final
Super Over target (chasing): 16
Fall guy: Not Tim Southee
On the grandest of stages, with the grandest of prizes on the line, New Zealand crumbled. First, they let Ben Stokes a toehold into the dying contest. Then, when push came to shove, they panicked. After scoring nine off the first two balls, they seemed on course, but they managed just five off the next three. Over to Martin Guptill, who is run out pursuing the second run. A tie didn’t suffice as England had a better boundary country. A most unfortunate method to arrive at a conclusion, but weren’t they responsible for this fate? Why would they send a batsman averaging 20 in the campaign to plunder the Super Over? A tactical blunder. Or a choke?