(Cricinfo) Exactly at which point Neil Broom had begun to take off is hard to tell. It could be when he struck Burt Cockley for three consecutive fours in the 14th over, or just the sight of Ryan ten Doeschate at the other end, upon which he hit the first of his eight sixes. One can be quite certain that Simon Katich had no idea, because by the time Broom had walked off at the end of the Otago innings having scored an unbeaten 117, the Perth Scorchers captain was looking at a total – 242 for four in 20 overs – far beyond the reaches of his young team.
And it remained so, as they made 180 for 6, and Otago finishing with an emphatic 62-run win. With the win, the New Zealand side not only kick-started their Champions League campaign, they set a few records on the way.
They have now completed a streak of 14 consecutive Twenty20 wins, second only to Sialkot Stallion’s 25-match winning streak. They had made the highest team score in the Champions League, as well as their best as a team, and Broom became only the fourth batsman to score a hundred in the competition, and the first in two years.
Broom was the main man for Otago, hammering, swatting and cracking sixes and fours on his way to a 56-ball unbeaten 117. He smashed nine fours and eight sixes. He played out 14 dot balls, most of them at the start of his innings when he saw two wickets fall in consecutive balls in the third over. There were some nervy moments during his 67-run third wicket stand with Derek de Boorder but that was, as it was later understood by Otago’s continuous onslaught, a way to unnerve the Scorchers’ bowlers. There were some close calls, including a dropped catch at slip by Adam Voges when de Boorder’s slash only found the edge in the fourth over.
After de Boorder fell to Voges after making 45 off 28 balls with five fours and two sixes, ten Doeschate weighed in. The Dutch allrounder straightaway went after the bowling, and increasingly, Broom too became aggressive.
Broom saw ten Doeschate survive a catch at long-on, the ball trickling over the rope, and still go after the bowling. Both were now on the charge, hounding the younger bowlers with boundaries off the first ball of their overs. They brought up their 100-run stand in just 39 balls, and Otago reached the 200-run mark in the 18th over.
Soon, Broom reached his maiden Twenty20 hundred with a swivel pull, one of many leg-side sixes during his marauding knock. He struck three consecutive sixes in the 19th over, the second of which brought up his century. His second fifty came in just 17 balls.
The Scorchers’ torment worsened when Liam Davis holed out at third man off the first ball of their innings. Ashton Agar, the other opener, fell off the last ball of the over, top-edging to the keeper. And as it happens in such dire situations, there was a run-out, Katich becoming the victim of poor calling with Voges. From 11 for 3, a successful chase looked improbable, to put it mildly.
Otago’s blitz from 9 for 2 to 242 for 4 should have inspired the Scorchers but they didn’t find a Broom among themselves. Only a 65-run fourth wicket stand between Hilton Cartwright and Voges took them out of the slide, before Cartwright added another 51 runs for the fifth wicket with Ashton Turner. Cartwright was unbeaten on 69 off 53 balls with six fours and a couple of sixes.
But this will be the most memorable day in Broom’s Twenty20 career, having not played for New Zealand since 2010. Otago too have proved themselves as a strong domestic side, though they have a lot to prove in the rest of this tournament.