Qantas Tour of NZ 2018
Kiwi student stunned at $50k crowd catch
University student Mitchell Grimstone pouched a left-handed grab from the front row to collect a $50,000 prize in Auckland
Louis Cameron in Auckland
17 February 2018, 11:26 AM AEST
A stunned university student left Eden Park NZ$50,000 richer on Friday evening after snaffling a one-handed crowd catch during New Zealand's record-breaking T20 International against Australia.
Mitchell Grimstone, an Auckland native who's studying accounting at Victoria University in Wellington, was mobbed by friends after successfully completing a promotion run by a New Zealand brewery.
The offer is open to fans of legal drinking age who wear orange shirts provided by the sponsor who cleanly take a crowd catch with one hand at New Zealand international limited-overs games.
Stationed in the front row on the short leg-side square boundary, Grimstone made no mistake as he safely pouched Ross Taylor's hoick off Andrew Tye in the final over the Black Caps' innings with his wrong hand.
"It all happened in a blur, I saw it and I thought, I'm a chance here and then popped out my hand," said Grimstone.
"I'm not left handed but somehow it got in there and it stuck. And then everyone was jumping on me."
Equally shocked to be conducting an impromptu press conference shortly after his grab, Grimstone admitted he was glad he decided to don the bright orange shirt instead of his trusty New Zealand one-day shirt with his idol Brendon McCullum's name on the back.
He became the second fan to pocket $50k after Dunedin builder Craig Dougherty completed the feat off a Martin Guptill six during a New Zealand-Pakistan ODI at University Oval last month.
The promotion, which has been brought back this summer following a two-year absence, had earlier in January been plunged into controversy after reckless patrons on the Tauranga hill endangered other spectators and children in their eagerness to claim the hefty prizemoney during an ODI against the West Indies.
New Zealand Cricket subsequently set aside specific catch zones for all matches with grass hills, though those rules do not affect the fully-seated Eden Park arena.
Grimstone, who plays club cricket in Wellington, said he'd given careful consideration over where he sat for the Friday's match, which saw Australia complete the highest run-chase in T20 history.
"I watch a lot of cricket," Grimstone explained. "I was thinking, right-hander, where are they going to hit it? Cow corner, over long on, mid-off?
"So we thought about it … I was a bit lucky."
Soon after the catch his jubilant friends suggested Grimstone had left the ground to spend his winnings, though he was in fact doing the media rounds.
And despite his new found fame, he revealed he plans on spending the money wisely.
"Probably just invest it, be smart with it, not throw it away," he said, adding: "Because it's a lot of money."
Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-Series
First T20I Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets. Scorecard
Second T20I Australia beat England by five wickets. Scorecard
Third T20I Australia beat England by seven wickets. Scorecard
Fourth T20I New Zealand beat England by 12 runs. Scorecard
Fifth T20I Australia beat New Zealand by five wickets. Scorecard
Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18. Scorecard
Final Australia v TBC, Eden Park, February 21. Scorecard
Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.