The Indian Premier League auction again proved its unpredictability last night.
Martin Guptill, listed as one of eight marquee players on the back of his limited overs performances in the past year, was overlooked by the IPL franchises.
His reserve was set at five million rupees ($111,000) but there was no interest when his lot came up before the end of a New Zealand innings in which he made 31 off 45 balls.
He did not receive any bids during the second stage of bidding either, leaving him without a contract.
The news came as an initial surprise, given Guptill's clean hitting took him to the most ODI runs (1489) in the 2015 calendar year but, in retrospect, the decision is understandable.
The wickets in the IPL always look like tarmac, but most IPL franchises already have outstanding opening batsmen. As a gauge, Kane Williamson sold for a relatively low $137,000 last year and barely featured for Hyderabad. New Zealand pace bowlers tend to have better chances of selection.
Westpac Stadium provided a surreal setting as a number of players on the field performed while the crowd around them knew how much the franchise owners valued them. The players must now know what it feels like in a pet shop.
Ironically, two rested New Zealand players earned the spoils.
Tim Southee sold for $556,000 to the Mumbai Indians, where he will reunited with former New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond and play alongside Mitchell McClenaghan and Corey Anderson.
To place Southee's figure in context, South African spearhead Dale Steyn went to the Gujarat Lions for $511,000.
Colin Munro was the other successful Black Cap, picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders for $67,000. His 16-minute frenzy against Sri Lanka in last month's Twenty20 was a quality investment of batting time. The bidding proved the impact of his 50 off 14 balls, the second-fastest T20 international half-century, resonated beyond Eden Park.
The other New Zealanders selected for the tournament at this stage are Brendon McCullum (Rajkot), Trent Boult and Williamson (Hyderabad), and Adam Milne (Bangalore).
Fellow past and current Black Caps Grant Elliott, Jimmy Neesham, Doug Bracewell, Nathan McCullum, George Worker and Anton Devcich were passed on, as well Central Districts seamer Seth Rance.
Of the Australians in action tonight, John Hastings and Mitchell Marsh picked up contracts.
Marsh, who made 69 off 72 balls, secured a $1.06 million deal with the Stephen Fleming-coached Pune. Hastings, who returned the parsimonious figures of none for 42 from his complement, picked up a $289,000 contract with Kolkata.
Shane Watson was the top buy in the auction. The Daniel Vettori-coached Royal Challengers Bangalore bought him for $2.11 million.