England captain Eoin Morgan singled out Chris Jordan for praise after the fast-bowler held his nerve in a Super Over at Eden Park, helping the tourists to a 3-2 victory over New Zealand in the T20I series.
At one stage, the winner takes all clash in Auckland looked like it might succumb to the weather but the rain relented in time for an eleven over a side match to be possible. The two teams both scored 146, forcing the game into a Super Over, just like the 50-over World Cup final at Lord’s in July.
As on that famous day, England emerged victorious, albeit in more comfortable fashion, with Jordan conceding just eight runs from his six deliveries, including one wicket, in the Super Over, giving the tourists a victory by nine runs.
“I don’t think both sides mind a bit of extra time or a Super Over,” Morgan said. “It makes for great entertainment. It’s obviously brilliant to play in big-pressure situations, but we’re glad we came out the other side of it.
“I’m surprised we got any sort of a game in today with the weather that was around, but it’s always nice to play here. We chopped and changed a little bit, and the guys coming in did a really good job.
“The Black Caps played well again, bowled really well, and there was nothing between the sides for the 11-over game. And then, the Super Over – I thought the standout was Chris Jordan, a guy who’s extremely calm under pressure and delivers.”
England only made it to the Super Over thanks to Jordan who hit James Neesham’s last three balls of their innings for a six, a two and a four to tie the scores. Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow then scored 17 off England’s six balls in extra time before Jordan got to work with a succession of yorkers which New Zealand’s batsmen couldn’t get away.
“A few of us have played T10 cricket so the mood was very calm the entire way through. I just tried to keep a clear mind,” Jordan said. “I’d bowled a super over before in Sharjah against Pakistan [in 2016, conceding just three runs], so it was more or less going through processes and letting what will be will be.”
The victory sealed an impressive series win for England after leaving many of their first-choice team at home. If they hadn’t collapsed in a heap in the third match in Nelson, losing five wickets for ten runs when coasting to victory, the margin could have been wider. “To win it in such fashion with a young, inexperienced side in the long term will pay huge dividends for us,” Morgan told BBC’s Test Match Special.
“It says a lot about the team. It gives us huge strength in depth moving forward and it creates a really good headache for us when it comes to selection. When you select a squad like we did, you always run the risk of getting drilled, particularly away from home. We are further ahead than we thought.”
Despite the gloomy weather, both teams made hay with the bat during their respective innings in Auckland. New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner and England’s Saqib Mahmood were the most economical bowlers of the day and they conceded ten runs an over each as the short straight boundaries made life difficult for the men with the ball.
New Zealand’s total of 146, kickstarted by an opening stand of 83 in 5 overs between Martin Guptill and Colin Munro, was a steep one but Bairstow, who made 47 from 18 balls in the chase, including three consecutive sixes off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, always thought it was achievable.
“It was pretty imposing to try and chase down 150 ,” Bairstow told Sky Sports, “but a lot of the guys played in the T10 last year and said, ‘look, we’re not far off here – if we can within striking distance with the small boundaries, we’ve got a chance’.”
The two teams now turn their attention to Test cricket, with the first game of a two-match series beginning in Mount Manganui on November 21.