July 14, 2019. Lord's. England Vs New Zealand. Occasion - World Cup Final. 15 runs were needed off the final over. Trent Boult bowling to Ben Stokes. Kiwi bowling to Kiwi. Stokes gets a six, gets another six due to a deflection from his bat due to a dive. Two run-outs and a super over follows. That super over is tied. The hosts are declared the winner due to a superior boundary count. England won the World Cup but New Zealand did not lose it. The finale at Lord's would have prompted tragics and romantics to pour their hearts and sympathies out for New Zealand. Such was the uproar that the boundary count rule has been scrapped by the ICC.
119 days later, on November 10, England and New Zealand are 2-2 in the five-match Twenty20 International series heading into the final clash at Eden Park, Auckland. Rain forces the match to be curtailed to 11 overs. New Zealand blitz 146/5. Martin Guptill, still carrying the scars of Lord's, smashes 50 off 20 balls which included three balls and five sixes. Colin Munro hit 46 off 21 balls and he went past 100 sixes in the process. England do not hold back, with Jonny Bairstow smashing 47. England have raced to 90 in six overs. However, a mini colapse ensues. Heading into the final over bowled by James Neesham, England need 16.
Neesham had tweeted after the end of the World Cup, "Kids, don’t take up sport. Take up baking or something. Die at 60 really fat and happy." The tweet reflected the immense hurt felt by New Zealand. Carrying the baggage of emotion, Neesham proceeded to deliver three great balls which yielded just three runs and the wicket of Tom Curran. 13 needed off 3. However, England refused to give up. Chris Jordan blasted a full toss over sweeper cover for a six. 7 off 2. After a couple, England needed five off the last ball. Surely another twist. There was! Jordan swatted a full toss on leg stump to fine leg for a boundary. Scores tied. Yet another super over.
Bairstow and Eoin Morgan blast 17 in England's effort. Jordan, boosted by his batting efforts, gets the ball and restricts New Zealand to eight runs. England win the match in the super over and the series 3-2. For Guptill, the hurt of Lord's was repeated at Auckland. For Neesham, the hurt of Lord's has been prolonged as his two full tosses saw England get 10 runs. Just for the record, had the match being tied in the super over, even the boundary count this time was level with 22-22 after the end.
Forget England Vs Australia. Forget India Vs Pakistan. If there is a rivalry that provides the cricketing world cheer at least in the limited overs format, it is England Vs New Zealand. In the space of four months, these two teams have played out two thrillers in ODI and T20I. The tragedy with New Zealand is that they have fallen short on both occasions. For a team that has redefined gentlemanly behavior and who have always punched above their weight, one wonders when the tide will change for New Zealand.
2019 has already been a heartbreaking year for New Zealand fans. The World Cup final 'loss despite not losing it', their brutal exit from the semi-final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup by England and now this super-over humdinger in Auckland. England's sporting miracle of 2019 has been built on the Ashes of New Zealand's despair. If 2019 is remembered as the Annus Mirabilis of England sport, then 2019 will be the Anno Rerum Memoria for New Zealand.