The match saw the return of banned duo of Steve Smith and David Warner in national colours but the lower order featuring all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile (34) and tail-enders Jason Behrendorff and Adam Zampa had to hold their nerve in near darkness at the Allan Border Field. Coulter-Nile was also one of three quicks to claim three wickets, alongside Pat Cummins (3/36) and Behrendorff (3/34), as the disciplined Australians bundled out the Black Caps for just 215 from 46.1 overs.
Warner, who was almost dismissed off his very first delivery as the ball fell just short of diving Daryl Mitchell at backward point, before notching up a quickfire 39 off 43 balls. A pulled six over mid-wicket was followed up with a pair of leg-side fours, while balls over-pitched and on a good length were dispatched through cover point.
IPL-12’s leading run-getter with Sunrisers Hyderabad was caught at short third man attempting to reverse sweep Black Caps leg-spinner Todd Astle.
Former Australian captain Smith played some nice shots in his 22, including a pair of boundaries through point and cover in his 43-ball stay. He was caught behind by Latham off the bowling of Matt Henry.
Captain Aaron Finch batted with both Smith and Warner while continuing on the form that propelled him to a record-breaking series against Pakistan in March. When he departed at 122/2 after making a solid 52 (64), the outcome of the match looked to be a case of when, not if, Australia would secure victory.
With 11 runs required for win, Coulter-Nile fell leg-before to Astle for a fine 34, and Australia found themselves nine down with their hopes resting on Behrendorff (7no) and Zampa (11no), who survived some tight decisions to see their side home in the 49th over courtesy of a cut four from the leg-spinner.
Earlier, New Zealand’s total largely revolved around Tom Blundell (77) and Will Young (60), who put on 137 after had Cummins struck twice in the opening over of the day.
With both sides allowed 12 players, Australia were able to then call upon two more quicks in the form of Coulter-Nile and non-World Cup squad member Kane Richardson (0-29), as well as allrounder Stoinis (0-41) and Zampa (1-31).
From a promising 138/2, the Kiwis lost eight wickets with only an additional 77 runs added to the scoreboard, as Behrendorff and Coulter-Nile did the majority of the damage.
Brief scores: New Zealand XI 215 (Blundell 77, Young 60, Behrendorff 3-34, Cummins 3-36, Coulter-Nile 3-44) lost to Australian XI 219/9 (Finch 52, Warner 39, Henry 3-40) by one wicket
First Published: May 6, 2019, 1:58 PM IST