Image Credit: Ben Sutherland
ENGLAND VS NEW Zealand have proved yet again to be the most inseparable teams in cricket's recent history.
When the 2019 Cricket World Cup final went down to a super over, it seemed pretty unbelievable that after 50 overs of cricket and a super over, England and New Zealand could only be decided by a count back on boundaries, a rule which many didn’t even know existed and was unlikely thought of as a rule that would be needed. Despite this being the anomaly it already was, it happened all over again. This time in the deciding fixture of a five match T20 series, with New Zealand being on home ground this time.
After going 2-1 down, England put on a masterclass in white ball batting at McLean Park, Napier. Newly acquired Yorkshire batsman Dawid Malan hit a record breaking 103* of just 51 balls alongside his captain Eoin Morgan with a great knock of 91 (41), completing England’s highest ever T20 score. The fifth match decider was set up nicely at the impressive Eden Park, and even the rain which reduced the match to only an 11 over contest couldn’t spoil a great afternoon of cricket. Both teams came flying out of the blocks, NZ opening batsman Martin Gupthill with an explosive 50 (20) and recently recalled Jonny Bairstow managing 47 (18). The total of 146 set for England to chase was a formidable one and it really proved to be, given that England only managed to level the match in the final over. England all- rounder Chris Jordan was to be the hero on this day with a ridiculous 12 from the final three balls to bring England’s total also to 146 Commentator Nasser Hussein was in complete disbelief as to how it had happened all over again.
It set up the second super over between England and New Zealand within the same calendar year, proving how closely matched the two World Cup finalists still were in the shorter formats of cricket. Captain Morgan alongside the seasoned batsman Bairstow stepped up to the crease and each hit sixes straight down the ground, ending the over with a total of 17, two more than what was managed in July’s final. Chris Jordan, who was an early mentor of young England star and CWC hero Jofra Archer, was the man given the ball by his captain and an impressive set of deliveries (including a heroic catch from Morgan) stopped New Zealand's chase easily. It didn’t quite bring the same drama as the final but still had heart’s racing, rounding off an exciting T20 series spearheaded by new young talent such as Matt Parkinson and Tom Banton.
England’s tour in New Zealand continues with a test series in which new head coach Chris Silverwood will be hoping to continue on from Trevor Bayliss’ relative success in a drawn Ashes series. The test team arguably struggled in summer, losing Jimmy Anderson in the first test and experiments such as Jason Roy opening the batting not quite working. England test captain Joe Root came under immense pressure following the failure to win the Ashes and an inability to work out how to dismiss Steve Smith.
England’s two match series with New Zealand will hopefully prove a good chance for new players such as Dom Sibley to get into the regular test side. The first test of two will start on 20 November at 22:00 GMT at the Bay Oval. It will however only be shown on Sky Sports. This comes at the same time in which peers discussed the chance to review the list of Category A protected sports events (free to air not just highlights) possibly to add events such as home cricket test matches.
Following on from Patrick Hook-Willers’ article addressing last summer saving English Cricket, the addition of free-to-air TV matches would be huge for viewership in the sport. There is huge debate as to how much the profit of Sky has done for the sport. Re-investment has allowed for a fantastic English youth programme and the world cup was for me, a great introduction into the sport. Despite this, Sky Sports isn’t the most accessible service- the cost fluctuating around £15-£30 a month. The cheapest option is the one day service for £9.99 which was applicable for ODI and T20 match es, however tests still miss out on this. It’s just too expensive and although the money does go back into cricket, numerous possible watchers miss out.
The world cup final attracted a huge minute-high audience of 8.3m (despite clashing with the British Grand Prix and the Wimbledon men’s singles final) as Channel 4 broadcast the event. Alongside this review from peers, in the new fast-paced format of cricket, The Hundred, is debuting in summer 2020 - with 10 matches out of the 32 being broadcast by the BBC. 2020 could be a huge year for viewership in cricket, setting a precedent for future big events being broadcast on free-to-air TV and Sky. It’s a good move in the right direction. However Sky could push for more agreements with Channel 4, for example during big matches