International cricket at Bay Oval

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

The Bay Oval has received the highest accolade that can be given to an international cricket venue in the Southern Hemisphere, in hosting a Boxing Day test match.

That honour will arrive at the Blake Park cricket venue when our Black Caps go in to battle for up to five days against Pakistan, kicking off on December 26.

The 2020/21 season is a huge six months for the Bay Oval, with West Indies and Pakistan paying return stopovers, along with the historic first Australian visit to the Western Bay of Plenty International cricket venue.

Boxing Day tests at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) has become an Australian cricket tradition, since Australia went to war against their greatest rivals England on the day after Christmas in 1950. 

New Zealand has played in three Boxing Day tests at the MCG, earning draws in their 1980 and 1987 appearances, while last seasons cricket lesson administered by the Aussie's is best forgotten.

Based on last years historic first test verses England attendance figures, one would expect that the Boxing Day test will produce a financial bonanza for New Zealand Cricket.

Another historic Bay Oval milestone will be unfurled during the 2020/21 cricket season, when Australia pay their first visit to the Western Bay of Plenty to engage the Black Caps in a International T20 encounter on March 7, 2021.

As the monotonous television ads say - but wait there's more - two Black Caps T20 match-ups with the Windies in November are followed by the Women's Tri-Series final, plus New Zealand A verses their West Indian counterparts leading in to the test match.

Here's a fact that most cricket fans wouldn't know, there have been 61 matches featuring international teams at the Bay Oval, since the first ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier in January 2014.

South Africa, Sri Lanka, England, India, Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan have all thrilled the large crowds and who can forget the Indian domination of Australia in the ICC Under 19 World Cup Final in 2018.

In addition, Afghanistan played a number of warm-up games at the Bay Oval leading up to the 2015 ICC World Cup, with a significant number of White Ferns internationals also taking centre stage at Blake Park.

Local cricket watchers would also be surprised by the player who holds the record for the most international centuries at the Bay Oval. Australian Women's Captain Meg Lanning, has made the Western Bay ground her personal stamping ground, with three centuries from just five appearances.

Lanning opened her account at the Bay Oval with a modest five runs in "The Rosebowl" three match series against the White Ferns in 2016, before taking her side to victory, with an unbeaten knock of 114 and 127 runs in her second and third appearances.

The Australian Women's superstar picked up where she left off the following season, with 44 and 104 not out, to again bat the White Ferns out of contention.

In addition to the international action, Northern Districts will play two Plunket Shield encounters with two ND Men's and Women's Super Smash double-headers scheduled in the next six months.

The advice out there is get in early to purchase tickets, as the full-house sign in sure to be put out on several occasions during the international shootouts.

Bay Oval International Match Schedule 2020/21

November 29, 2020 T20 - Black Caps v West Indies

November 30, 2020 T20 – Black Caps v West Indies

December 6-3, 2020    Four-Day – New Zealand A v West Indies

December 26-30, 2020 ICC Test Match – Black Caps v Pakistan

March 7, 2021 T20 - Black Caps v Australia

March 14, 2021 T20 Womens Tri-Series Final



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