New Zealand

‘They’ll have loved that’: Jacob Duffy does Southland proud in his Black Caps debut


Before he handed Jacob Duffy his cap ahead of the first Twenty20 international against Pakistan, Black Caps bowling coach Shane Jurgensen had an important message to share.

In the team huddle in the middle of Eden Park, he told the 26-year-old debutant: “You have to trust and believe that everyone in this circle is right behind you and everyone in the stand is right behind you”.

A little over an hour later, the right-arm seamer from Lumsden in Southland was rewarding those who had shown faith in him, dismissing three of Pakistan’s top-order batsmen to leave them reeling at 29-4 at the end of the power play.

Jacob Duffy took 4-33 in his debut appearance for the Black Caps.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Jacob Duffy took 4-33 in his debut appearance for the Black Caps.

If that wasn’t enough, he then almost took a spectacular one-handed catch on the third-man boundary, only just touching the rope as he landed, and returned to claim a fourth wicket – that of danger man Shadab Khan, Pakistan’s captain and top scorer.

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At that stage Duffy had 4-13, but after conceding 20 runs off his final five balls, he finished with 4-33, which were still the best figures by a New Zealander on their Twenty20 debut.

Pakistan’s total of 153-9 was chased down by the Black Caps batsmen with five wickets in hand and seven balls to spare and after receiving the player-of-the-match award, Duffy had the chance to share his excitement with the world.

“It’s almost a sense of relief in a way,” he said.

“I woke up and this morning and thought if I go for 40 or so it’s probably not too bad of a day, especially at Eden Park.

“To get those few [wickets] early was a good feeling – there’s a little bit of a bitter taste in the mouth with that last over, getting sent for a few sixes – but on the whole, you’d take the 153 they got and you’d take the four wickets as well.”

Duffy was the first cricketer from Southland to debut for the Black Caps since dual-international Jeff Wilson did in 1993 – and the first to play for them since Wilson’s post-rugby comeback ended in 2005.

He was splashed across the front page of the Southland Times on Thursday morning after his first day training with the team, and he was certain his home province would have been watching on with admiration on Friday night.

Black Caps seamer Jacob Duffy celebrates the wicket of Pakistan opener Abdullah Shafiq with his captain, Mitchell Santner.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Black Caps seamer Jacob Duffy celebrates the wicket of Pakistan opener Abdullah Shafiq with his captain, Mitchell Santner.

“People down there are so passionate and so proud to be Southlanders and I am too,” Duffy said.

“I’ve honestly got hundreds of messages this week, some from people I haven’t talked to since high school, but it’s so cool, the people that get around you, and I know they’ll have loved that tonight.”

The bulk of the Black Caps were on their way to Hamilton on Saturday ahead of the second match of the series at Seddon Park on Sunday, but Duffy was one of five players heading home, with test seamers Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, and Tim Southee returning to the fold after being rested for game one.

When asked how he felt about having to make way after such an impressive debut, Duffy said: “It’s all good”.

“I know there are some absolute class players coming in and it’s going to be bloody hard to get back in again, because the depth in the bowling is unbelievable at the moment.

“It’s just up to me to go home and do well in domestic cricket, in the Super Smash, and earn myself another chance, I guess.”


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