On July 29, 2022, when New Zealand took on an associate cricketing nation in Scotland for the 2nd T20I of NZ’s tour of the latter, even laymen knew that a Black Caps win was the only possible outcome. However, not a single soul had predicted the degree of carnage that the hosts were to undergo at Edinburgh.
NZ batter Finn Allen (first T20I’s Man of The Match) fell for six after his side had decided to bat first. The start was rather bright for Scotland. But the start of their ‘bright’ was also the end of it.
Mark Chapman served as the lynchpin for the highest T20I cricket total that New Zealand then went on to record.
First, Mark participated in a 35-run-partnership alongside opener Dane Cleaver. Then, the left-hander went on to sweep, swipe, and loft his way to add a quick 62 and 53 with Daryl Mitchell (31 off 19) and Michael Bracewell respectively.
The 28-year-old was eventually dismissed by legbreaker Chris Greaves for a 44-ball-83 –that included 7 sixes– in the 16th over of the first innings. The scorecard? 175 for 4.
Easier to control runs with the set batter gone. Not really. For strange as it sounds, the actual gung-ho began only after Chapman fell. Michael Bracewell, coming into the series after owning the Irish side in his last international assignment(s), met a hard-hitting Jimmy Neesham. The onslaught followed.
Bracewell sent the ball rolling to all parts of the ground and Jimmy joined the carnage with three maximums of his own. Together, the duo looted a whopping 79 runs off the last 28 deliveries.
Though it was all Chapman for two-thirds of the innings, the closing assault from Bracewell (61* off 25) was of a similar significance.
Both the efforts, combined with several cameos, rewrote the record books of Black Caps cricket: New Zealand scored 254 for 5. It is now their highest-recorded total in T20 international cricket.
The previous highest T20I total from NZ was 243 for five that came against the West Indies back in 2018. Ironically, the centurion and half-centurion of that game –Colin Munro and Martin Guptill– weren’t even a part of the July 29 game. Dane Cleaver was given a go at the expense of Guptill while Munro is nowhere near the international Kiwi cricket scene at present.
Coming back to the New Zealand versus Scotland game, a collective bowling effort saw Mitchell Santner and co. restrict the hosts to 152 for 9 in their quest of 255 runs to earn a comprehensive 102-run-win over the Men in Purple. Neesham and Rippon took two wickets apiece.