It's a scenario that any cricket lover would take delight in.
One run needed off the last ball, with a tailender facing a wily seamer; all set against the backdrop of one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the country.
Young Cantabrian Matt Henry didn't disappoint - driving bowler Jade Dernbach through mid-off for a boundary to claim victory for the New Zealand XI against England in the final of their two Twenty20 warm-up games at Cobham Oval in Whangarei.
It was an absorbing encounter and had Henry failed to score off the last delivery, a tie would have been entirely fitting.
Yet the New Zealand selectional side had different ideas in its chase of England's 170-5, thanks largely to a fine knock by Tom Latham.
The former Black Cap scored an impressive 64 off just 53 balls, combining with opener Anton Devcich (33) and then the middle order to take his side within seven runs of a result, before holing out to Luke Wright off England skipper Stuart Broad.
"[Latham] played really well," England opener Michael Lumb said, labelling his side's 170 an "above-par score".
"You've got to take it on the chin when a guy plays like that - there's not a lot you can do. He played some good shots. We probably didn't bowl as well as we would have liked, but that's the way it happens."
Broad was sublime with the ball in hand, taking 3-24 off his four overs, while all-rounder Samit Patel was equally miserly, taking 1-20.
"Things can change so quickly and you saw at the end there when Dernbach came into his own and started bowling those slower balls he's very good at. It became tough," said New Zealand bowler Andrew Ellis. "There's always a chance of something happening in Twenty20, but we did enough work at the start and throughout the innings to a spot where it was enough to get over the line."
As on Tuesday, the free-hitting Jos Buttler (51) and Eoin Morgan (51 not out) headlined the England innings, after they were sent in to bat at a packed Cobham Oval.
Lumb (45) hit confidently early on, before being caught by Neil Broom off Black Caps test seamer Neil Wagner, leaving England teetering at 77-4. That bought Buttler and Morgan together, and the crowd to their feet, as the pair combined for a 87-run fifth-wicket partnership off just 50 balls.
Buttler, who looks primed for super stardom in T20 cricket, was especially entertaining in his innings, with a touring six over the covers off Wagner a simply jaw-dropping shot.
Ellis (2-27) and Otago spinner Nick Beard (0-28) were the pick of the New Zealand XI bowlers, while Wagner, who conceded 23 off his final over, was tight early on, but ended with 2-38. Black Cap Doug Bracewell looked rusty in his four overs, going for 39 but will be better for having time at the wicket.
England now head to Auckland, where they will play the Black Caps in the first of their three-match Twenty20 series at Eden Park on Saturday.
- Fairfax Media
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