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Mark Chapman and Micheal Bracewell’s half- Centuries lead New Zealand to all-time highs

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Visitors scored their highest T20 International total, including 18 sixes, and defeated Scotland by 102 runs.

The world-famous Johnnie Walker highball is the centerpiece of the award-winning whisky tour on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

The Scotch distillery’s website describes it as a “balanced mixture of smoke, fruit, and fizz.” A mile away at The Grange, New Zealand’s own highball concoction was on display, and the slogan might have easily been applied.

Michael Bracewell
Michael Bracewell

New Zealand’s record-setting T20I score of 254 and win by 102 runs was the result of 18 sixes struck with perfect proportion. Mark Chapman and Michael Bracewell’s individual T20I career-best half-centuries were the decisive factors since they were the only batsmen to surpass fifty. Chapman’s 83 came off of 44 balls, while Bracewell’s unbeaten 61 came off of only 25.

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After beginning cautiously with four dots, Chapman slammed seven sixes, beginning with a straight one. Mark Watt’s birthday delivery sailed to the boundary, while Hamza Tahir dropped short and was subsequently smoked for four and six.

It was his first professional knock since mid-April, but there was little indication of rustiness when he pulled a Chris Greaves drag down to Watt on the boundary.

On the opposite end, Bracewell should not have made any. Richie Berrington, captain of Scotland, will regret a dip in the covers well into the night. Bracewell is a relative newcomer to international cricket, but his ball striking is as precise as it comes. This was especially evident in Ali Evans’ 19th over, which yielded 26 runs.

Both dexterity and force were on display as he scored 4, 4, 4, 6, 6 off the last five legal balls of the over. Slower balls were waited on and tucked away on either side of the wicket. The first six, which produced Bracewell’s first T20 International fifty, was a slog sweep over a deep square leg.

Chapman and Bracewell were supported by several other fruitful knocks: Dane Cleaver made a quickfire 28, Daryl Mitchell smashed 31, and Jimmy Neesham – whose maximum from the first ball of the 20th overtook New Zealand’s previous highest T20I total of 243, which they hit twice in early 2018 – scored 28 from 12 deliveries before falling to the final ball of the innings.

Team New Zealand
Team New Zealand

Neesham joined Bracewell in the middle early in the sixteenth over; their combination was worth 79 runs off 29 balls. The scoring rate was so high that the in-stadium DJ struggled to play The Proclaimers fast enough to meet the demand for musical fillers.

Three George Munsey fours in the first over of the run chase gave Scotland hope. However, they had lost four wickets inside the same number of overs. Michael Jones, who had just scored 206 for Durham in the County Championship, holed out to Bracewell, followed by Munsey, Matthew Cross, and Ollie Hairs, who all perished inside six balls.

Neesham poured a tidy shot of Munsey without glancing at the finger measure. After three balls, Neesham doubled, while Cross provided Bracewell with catching practice. Then, Hairs was pursued by Cleaver, who was attempting to steal a dram.

Ten overs into Scotland’s innings, New Zealand added another entry to the record books. Michael Rippon, a left-arm wrist-spinner, was the first person to bowl a left-arm wrist spin for his nation.

After two deliveries, with the DJ back in his element, a new ball was retrieved because Greaves had slog-swept onto the adjacent Arboretum Avenue. Greaves, who scored 79 against Stoneywood Dyce on this pitch last Saturday in the Easter Premier League, paid 17 for the over.

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Greaves then went down for 37, with Ish Sodhi making a great return grab, and Rippon subsequently claiming Michael Leask and Evans.

Scotland’s two consecutive defeats have been, in the words of head coach Shane Burger, “a big learning curve.”

But in World Cup years, he desires more, not less: “We will improve in proportion to the frequency with which we are placed in situations when our opponents are superior and we are required to perform at our best. We require more international contests against truly formidable opponents.”

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