Unsold at IPL public sale, New Zealand’s Devon Conway smashes 59-ball 99

Christchurch, February 22

Was there something amiss about the recent IPL auction? Those who watched Devon Conway bat today, or, in the days before, might think so. For, four days after going unsold in the auction that was held thousands of kilometres away, the South African-born New Zealander blazed his way to a 59-ball unbeaten 99 and powered the Black Caps to a resounding win in the first of the five T20 Internationals against Australia here.

Conway’s base price in the IPL auctions was Rs 50 lakh. India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin summed up what the lucrative league, its eight franchises and millions of fans may have missed out on. “Devon Conway is just 4 days late, but what a knock,” Ashwin tweeted, some time after New Zealand romped to a 53-run victory at the Hagley Oval.

The teams were sceptical about his ability to tackle the spinners on the slower India pitches.

The 29-year-old Conway, who was born in Johannesburg and later moved base to New Zealand, clobbered 10 fours and three sixes during his 79 minutes of stay in the middle.

Conway entered the T20 series opener on the back of four consecutive half-centuries — 93 not out, 91 not out, 69 and 50 (his previous Super Smash scores) — and with another unbeaten innings, he became the first New Zealand player to record five successive fifties in the game’s shortest format.

Even as the others raked in the megabucks after the franchises opened their purse strings in Chennai, Conway went about his business in the most professional manner and lifted New Zealand from a precarious 19/3 to a competitive 184/5.

The total was enough for the Kiwis as they bowled out Australia for 131 in 17.3 overs. This was New Zealand’s biggest ever margin of victory over their Trans-Tasman rivals in the shortest format of the international game. — PTI

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