1. A new wicketkeeper/batsman was anointed

Wellington's Tom Blundell was chosen as the next international wicketkeeper/batsman, but Auckland's Glenn Phillips remains a strong contender.

Anyone watching Blundell's innings of 69 off 43 balls at Seddon Park to see the Firebirds home with an over to spare chasing 176 against the Knights would be convinced of the 26-year-old's maturity. Blundell scored three half-centuries with an average of 30.37 and strike rate of 134 in the competition. Curiously for a wicketkeeper, there was one dismissal. He caught Marty Kain in the final.

Phillips topped the dismissal charts with seven catches and two stumpings. The 20-year-old led the run aggregates with 369 from 10 innings at an average of 46.12 and strike rate of 143, including a century and three half-centuries.

2. The value of imports varies

The debate surrounding the input of imports always simmers.


Central Districts delivered a masterstroke in re-signing former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene. He had the second highest runs aggregate with 367 at the 11th-highest average (45.87) and fifth-highest strike rate (176) for those scoring more than 100 runs.

Contrast that with Wellington imports Jade Dernbach and Evan Gulbis. They were axed after the discovery they had a late night on the eve of the match against Central Districts on December 18. Wellington had lost four matches until that point. After their exit, the Firebirds won seven from eight, and took the title.

3. Tom Bruce arrived

The 25-year-old powered his way up the Super Smash rankings, resulting in his Twenty20 international call-up on Boxing Day to play Bangladesh.

Before parting ways with his Stags teammates on New Year's Day, Bruce sought advice from experienced counsel about his debut.

"I had a good chat with Mahela [Jayawardene] and Ross [Taylor]. They said I'd been picked for a reason, and to play my natural game."

Bruce finished eighth on the strike rate charts (172) and in the averages (47.16) for those to score over 100 runs.

He went on to score 59 off 39 balls to help New Zealand win the second T20I at Mt Maunganui, as well as taking an unexpected turn with the gloves after Luke Ronchi's injury.

4. Spin continues to hold value in the shortest form

Lovers of cricketing guile and cunning will appreciate spinners played their part.

The fear remains they will get slogged out of the game as bat sizes increase, boundaries decrease and fielding restrictions advance; but they always survive.

Of the 14 bowlers to deliver more than 100 balls and concede less than eight runs per over, half were spinners. They also registered as three of the top eight wicket-takers through Todd Astle and George Worker (13) and Tarun Nethula (11).

5. Ross Taylor needed a miracle to get picked for the Black Caps T20s side

With rejuvenated vision after eye surgery, Taylor joined Central Districts at Pukekura Park on December 29 to make 82 off 41 against Auckland, and 80 off 50 balls against Canterbury on December 31.

His T20 international and domestic form had been solid during the year. In seven innings, which encompassed the World T20, he averaged 29.75 with a strike rate of 127. Both figures were higher than career aggregates of 24.15 and 120.

Taylor also excelled in the T20 Blast for Sussex in England with 394 runs from 10 innings at an average of 56.28 and strike rate of 133. His average was second among batsmen to play more than six innings.

Yet even with Martin Guptill, and then Neil Broom injured, he could not make the Black Caps to play Bangladesh. Confusion reigned when he was rested from a Stags game on January 3 as a precaution to side stiffness, but he was still named in the test squad.

With Luke Ronchi and Jimmy Neesham used as makeshift openers, Taylor could have slotted into the middle order, as he has for the past decade. It didn't happen.