New Zealand 254 for 5 (Chapman 83, Bracewell 61*, Main 2-44) beat Scotland 152 for 9 (Greaves 37, Neesham 2-9, Rippon 2-37) by 102 runs
The world-famous Johnnie Walker highball forms the focal point of the award-winning whisky tour on Edinburgh’s Princes Street. It is described by the Scotch blender’s own website as a “balanced mix of smoke, fruit and fizz”. A mile away at The Grange, it was New Zealand’s own highball concoction on parade; and the liquid equivalent’s tagline could easily have applied.
Chapman smashed seven sixes – getting off the mark with a straight one – after having started watchfully with four dots. A straight-arm jab off birthday boy Mark Watt fizzed to the boundary, while Hamza Tahir dropped short and was smoked for first four and then six.
He also pulled a Chris Greaves drag down to Watt on the boundary in what was his first professional knock since mid-April but there was no apparent rustiness.
At the other end, Bracewell should not, in fact, have made any. Scotland captain Richie Berrington will lament a drop in the covers long into the night. A relative newcomer to international cricket, Bracewell’s ball striking is as clean as it gets, and that was particularly apparent in Ali Evans’ 19th over, which went for 26.
There was both deftness – slower balls waited on and tucked away either side of the wicket – and force as he plundered 4, 4, 4, 6, 6 off the last five legal balls of the over. The first six, which brought up Bracewell’s maiden T20I half-century, was slog swept over deep square leg.
Neesham had wandered to the middle early in the 16th over; his partnership with Bracewell was worth 79 from 29 balls. Such was the scoring rate that at times the in-ground DJ struggled to clip up The Proclaimers quickly enough to cope with the demand for musical fillers.
Munsey was served neat by Neesham, who did not even glance to see the finger measure. Three balls later, Neesham doubled up, with Cross giving Bracewell catching practice. Then Hairs was run-out by Cleaver trying to steal a sneaky dram.
Ten overs into the Scotland innings came another New Zealand entry into the record books. Michael Rippon, a left-arm wristspinner, became the first man to bowl, well, left-arm wristspin for his country.
Two deliveries in, with the DJ again in his element, a replacement ball was fetched after Greaves had slog swept on to neighbouring Arboretum Avenue. The over cost 17, as Greaves – who last Saturday on this ground made 79 against Stoneywood Dyce in the Easter Premier League – tucked in.
Greaves then fell for 37, Ish Sodhi taking a sharp return grab, while Rippon later claimed Michael Leask and Evans.
This is not New Zealand’s first string. Far from it. But while this pleasant white-ball leg of their European tour has so far taken place in Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh – and will doubtless have included plenty of downtime in beautiful surroundings – the likes of Chapman and Bracewell are all trying to distil white-ball spots.
“It’s just the nature of international cricket,” Chapman said of his time away from international cricket. “It took a bit to get going, but once you get one out of the middle of the bat, things come back pretty quickly.
“We’ve been talking about taking the game on, and being really positive in the way we play. It came off today, and the boys are pretty happy.”
For Scotland, these two trouncings have, in the words of head coach Shane Burger, been “a massive learning curve”.
But in a World Cup year, he wants more rather than less: “The more times you get thrown into this environment when they are better than you, and you have to make sure you’re playing at your best, the more we will get better. We need more international fixtures against really good teams.”