Super overs they were. The excitement should also act as a super billboard to entice droves to the first of two remaining dead rubbers. For me, it was also a super Sudoku to mess with fans' minds.

Yes, the Black Caps lost a Twenty20 match that would have kept alive the five-match series against India.

But once it entered the lucky-dip of the super overs, as midnight beckoned, it hardly mattered to me who was going to prevail at Seddon Park, Hamilton.

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I was more preoccupied with what the mindset was from both camps on who they were going to employ to do the job.

Enter captain fantastic Kane Williamson and opener Martin Guptill with, I presumed, Ross Taylor at first drop because logic suggested he was at the crease long enough and warm enough to continue. (Was it superstition that the Kiwi batsmen put a foot over the boundary into the park and then stepped back before running out?)

I expected composure from the India bowling department but, it seems, coach Ravi Shastri had wandered into the arena to make his points to captain Virat Kohli. So did former test batsman VVS Laxman (or was it Sanjay Manjrekar), attired in a suit for TV commentary. Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami also got in the act.

Everything suggested Ravindra Jadeja should have been bowling India's super over but India went dogmatically with reputation. Photo / Photosport
Everything suggested Ravindra Jadeja should have been bowling India's super over but India went dogmatically with reputation. Photo / Photosport

That's fair enough because picking the right type of bowler is fundamental — unflappable in the face of a standoff and devoid of emotions when the time comes to take a shot in the seemingly bullet-proof vest from an irreconcilable batsman.

Predictably stiff-armed slinger Jasprit Bumrah had emerged but the preceding 120-ball proceedings was conveying a different message.

Frugality should be the going concern. That means game-changing off-spinner Ravindra Jadeja (5.75 runs an over) was the top gun. Seamers Shardul Thakur (7) and Shami (8) followed with wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahla (9) next and Bumrah (11.25) at No 5 — if stifling batsmen is the desired quality.

For the record, the six (third ball) and two boundaries (4th and 6th) from Williamson and Guppy were all from Bumrah full tosses.

How strange was that from someone who is a death bowling expert? In fact his performance on the night was iffy.

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Sure, Bumrah was furious at Shami for his feeble attempt at deep backward of point and facetious when Jadeja — with as safe a pair of hands as Kohli has — had dropped a catch from Williamson during the regulation overs.

Frankly India's fielding was schoolboy stuff. Shivam Dube — he's no substitute for Hardik Pandya who is reportedly recovering from surgery — and Shami stood out. The latter had mis-fielded at the rope and, inadvertently, taken the sting out of the ball with an errant foot but casually looked over his shoulder only to carry on running rather than brake to save at least two runs.

The drop in standard was as inexplicable as India teasing the ball for singles from almost the 11th over to the 18th one. New Zealand bowling was measured but certainly not un-playable. That shouldn't detract from the Kiwis presumably doing their homework.

Here's the head scratcher from the Black Caps camp, though. Veteran Tim Southee is the hostage negotiator but, in a splitting mirror image of a wicket-less Bumrah, is fifth off the rank on an economy rate of 9.75.

Scott Kuggeleijn wins the frugality stakes on five an over. Ish Sodhi (5.75), Colin De Grandhomme (6.50) and Mitchell Santner (9.25) follow.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was in sublime form with the bat but you expect that from someone who should he be resting for the ODI and test series. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was in sublime form with the bat but you expect that from someone who should he be resting for the ODI and test series. Photo / Photosport

Enigmatically Williamson stopped using Kuggeleijn and De Grandhomme after two overs but persisted with opening seamer Hamish Bennett who was 20 an over after 12 balls although he claimed three scalps to finish at 13.50 an over. Top marks to the skipper for keeping faith in his bowler but at what stage does that sort of loyalty become a liability in a business of keeping the batting side to a modest total?

While we're on the subject, why wasn't De Grandhomme — who has underachieved with the bat in the T20s and wasn't in the remaining two matches before the series had started — employed as a bowler in the first two T20s? This is a never-arriving merchant who was considered fit enough to open in the test series in Australia before Christmas but not considered useful in the white-ball format.

If Kuggeleijn's domestic form was a concern than one can only deduce that Southee got in on reputation — just as Bumrah had done with India.

Southee started well. Wicketkeeper Tim Seifert's fumble and assumption that he needed to take his glove off to throw to the non-batter's end had cost the Kiwis the wicket of Sharma from the first delivery.

It was Southee's two fuller, body-line deliveries around Sharma's pads that had yielded as many lusty sixes but, the prudent will argue, New Zealand had lost the T20 the moment they had lapsed into the super over. It shouldn't boil down to Taylor's ability to hit a single off the last ball because pressure has a mind of its own.

If anything, as adroit as India batsmen are they have shown a propensity to be lazy with their foot work when the ball is a bat length outside the reach of an off drive. What did Williamson ask Southee to deliver to Sharma who does tend to go fishing?

Super over or not, the death-ball currency is and always will be dot balls. That doesn't detract from Southee's super catching status but his major portfolio is bowling. He is the flavour of the season but coach Gary Stead had dropped him because of his inability to take wickets in the first dig of the Aussie test matches with a new ball.

Conversely the Black Caps had fielded superbly despite Santner's dropped catch near the boundary. He isn't the first and won't be the last — just ask Kohli who gave Guptill a life at first slip. It is something India have to aspire to through to the ODI series and test matches.

Williamson's batting was sublime but that isn't out of the norm for someone who should use the T20s to rest.

In a microcosmic manner, it's funny (not in a hit-and-giggle sort of way) how the choice of bowlers in the super over offers a snapshot of the selection process in the more meaningful formats with the Black Caps.

Yes, it's only T20 cricket but that doesn't mean you can't learn from it although as a cynical analytical fan, I'm none the wiser from the last affair.

India captain Virat Kohli misses snaffling Martin Guptill at first slip in one of a rash of mis-fields from the tourists at Seddon Park, Hamilton. Photo / Photosport
India captain Virat Kohli misses snaffling Martin Guptill at first slip in one of a rash of mis-fields from the tourists at Seddon Park, Hamilton. Photo / Photosport