International Twenty20 was still in its infancy when the West Indies embarked upon a full tour of New Zealand in 2005-06. Until this point, only four T20 internationals had been played – one each in New Zealand, England, South Africa and Australia.
The tour kicked off with a solitary T20 international played on 16th February, 2006 at Eden Park in Auckland, which was also the venue for the inaugural T20I between New Zealand and Australia in February 2005. In those days before the advent of the ICC World Twenty20, the shortest format of the game was taken no more seriously than an exhibition match.
Just as against Australia a year earlier, the New Zealanders, led by the astute Stephen Fleming, strode out on the field wearing their retro beige outfits from the 1980’s. The hosts had a mixed record in the two T20Is they had played so far; while they were beaten by 44 runs against Australia, they managed a five-wicket win against South Africa at Johannesburg in October 2005.
This was the first T20I played by the West Indies, who were captained by Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Surely, this game would have been just a sideshow in the eyes of the tourists, who were seeking a better return than their last visit to the country in 1999-00, when they were blanked in all the matches – 2-0 in the Tests and 5-0 in the ODIs.
The turnout for the match was close to 23,000 as Fleming inserted the West Indies in after winning the toss. The dangerous Chris Gayle was nipped out early by Shane Bond, caught by Nathan Astle in the fourth over with the score on 14 and the innings never really gained momentum. In the eighth over, the run rate was not even four when Runako Morton fell to Scott Styris to make it 28/2.
A direct hit from Chris Cairns – who was playing his last international – sent back Dwayne Smith while Darren Ganga hung around for nearly ten overs before being caught by James Franklin off Styris for 26.
At the halfway mark, the score read a disappointing 54/4. Another run out, that of Wavell Hinds, soon followed as the visitors struggled to 79/5 with just six overs left and a flourish desperately needed.
Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo attempted to force the pace during a sixth-wicket stand of 31, the best of the innings, but the new Zealand bowlers gave little away. Off-spinner Jeetan Patel got rid of Chanderpaul for 26 (joint-highest scorer of the innings along with Ganga) courtesy a catch by Hamish Marshall.
Bravo remained unbeaten on 19 as the West Indies finished at a below-par 126/7 in their 20 overs. Only one six was hit, which came from Ganga’s bat off Styris in the eighth over which fetched 13 runs – the best of the innings. Bond was the pick of the bowlers with an impressive return of 2/15 in the allotted four overs.
Fleming was dismissed by Jerome Taylor in the second over with score on 14, but Lou Vincent took off at the other end. He dominated a second-wicket stand of 31 – which turned out to be the best of the innings – with Astle before Taylor accounted for the latter. At this stage, the score had moved along nicely to 45/2 in six overs and New Zealand were firmly in the driver’s seat.
Vincent and Styris added a further 28 for the third wicket before Bravo opened the floodgates with two vital wickets in successive overs. He first castled Styris in his second over (tenth over of the innings) before repeating the dose to Cairns in his next. Cairns scored only two in his last international appearance and walked off to a standing ovation. Bravo went off injured soon after, finishing with 2/16.
Tight bowling from the medium pacer Smith (2/9 in 3.2 overs) and the slow left-armer Gayle squeezed the run flow. Vincent played one from Smith onto his stumps to be out for 42 off 37 balls, the highest score of the match.
An over later, Gayle removed Marshall and suddenly the hosts slumped to 88/6 in the 15th over. Wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum could only manage four runs off ten balls before falling to Smith to make it 101/7 with 16 balls remaining.
An exciting finish was beckoning even as Gayle dismissed Peter Fulton off the third ball of the 19th over. With just two wickets in hand, New Zealand still required 20 to win from only nine balls. Gayle ended the over without much drama and finished with 2/22. The Windies were seemingly favourites. But as we know well by now, T20 is a fickle beast.
Left-arm pace bowler Ian Bradshaw, who had figures of 3-0-8-0, was rightfully trusted for the final over from which New Zealand needed 16 runs to win. James Franklin took two off the first ball before smashing the next ball, a fuller delivery, for six.
The hosts were right back in it, now needing eight off four balls. But Bradshaw regained his composure and conceded only two singles and a leg-bye off the next three balls.
With five runs to win off the final delivery, it was Bond who was on strike. Four to tie, six to win. As it happened, Bradshaw obliged with a full toss which Bond dispatched to the boundary for four. The crowd roared as New Zealand finished at 126/8, with the unbroken partnership between Franklin and Bond yielding 19 handy runs.
The scores were level and soon it was made known that a tie-breaker called the ‘bowl-out’ would be played in order to declare the winner. The essence of T20 is to ensure that one side walks away victorious after every completed game and the bowl-out was the precursor to the super over, which is now uniformly used to decide tied T20 matches.
Shane Bond hits the stumps as his teammates and opponents look on during the bowl-out at Eden Park (source – afp/espncricinfo.com)
In its short history since 2003, T20 cricket had seen only two tied matches until this point. The first instance was at the Oval in 2005, when Surrey edged out Warwickshire 4-3 in a Twenty20 Cup quarterfinal. The second was in 2005-06 between Colts and Kurunegala at Colombo. The bowl-out was first used in 1991 in a NatWest Trophy match between Derbyshire and Hertfordshire at Bishops Stortford.
The rules of a bowl-out were pretty straightforward – five bowlers from each side deliver two balls each (though there have been instances of one ball each too) at an unguarded wicket and the team with the greater number of successful hits was the winner. If the scores are yet the same, the bowl-out went into sudden death, similar to a penalty shootout in football.
Coming back to Auckland, New Zealand decided to begin the shootout with Astle, who missed twice. Smith, Patel and Gayle too could not target the stumps in either of their chances.
Cairns was the next one in and the crowd were undoubtedly hoping for him to hit and bow out in style. However, he too missed twice. When Taylor too shot blanks, the score read 0-0 after three rounds, with twelve successive deliveries failing to hit timber.
Then came Bond, who followed up his last-ball boundary with a brace of accurate deliveries, both of which hit the wicket. Bradshaw had a chance for redemption after his profligate final over, but he could do no better than his team-mates.
Finally, Styris hit the winner, sealing a 3-0 result in favour of New Zealand. It was quite a damp end to an otherwise interesting game and many likened the bowl-out to a ‘farce’. Smith was named man of the match for his economical spell.
The bowl-out made way for the super over two years later, and coincidentally New Zealand and the West Indies were involved in the first T20 international super over as well, also played at Eden Park in 2008-09.
This time it was the Windies who clinched the tie-breaker. The two teams then met in another super over at Pallekele in the 2012 World T20, where again the West Indies emerged winners.
Interestingly, in spite of the provision of a tie-breaker, the end result of the concerned match is officially recorded only as a tie. Neither the bowl-out nor the super over has been used in ODIs till date, although a tied result in a knockout match would change that. In earlier times quite a few tied ODIs were decided on the basis of number of wickets fallen.
Following this result, the bowl-out was used twice in T20Is. The most well-known instance came in the 2007 World T20, when India pipped Pakistan 3-0 at Durban after both sides ended with 141. Then in 2008, Zimbabwe won 2-0 against Canada at King City after both sides scored 135.
Presently, the super over is generally resorted to in all tied T20 matches, irrespective of whether it is a knockout match or not. In all, there have been eight tied T20Is till date, the latest one being the aforementioned 2012 World T20 match between New Zealand and West Indies.