Christchurch: A blistering knock by Devon Conway and an all-round performance from the bowlers helped the New Zealand beat Australia by 53 runs in the first T20I and take 1-0 lead in the five-match series, here on Monday.
New Zealand recovered from 19/3 to set Australia a target of 185, thanks to Conway hammering a 59-ball 99*. Thereafter, their bowlers dismantled the Australian top order to set them on their way to an easy victory, with Ish Sodhi returning with the superb bowling figures of 4/28.
After being invited to bat, New Zealand didn't have a great start. Martin Guptill's woes in the middle continued as he had to walk back for nought.A couple of overs later, Jhye Richardson sent in a yorker which took out Tim Seifert's off stump. In the next over, captain Kane Williamson became Sams' second wicket and New Zealand were in trouble at 19/3.
However, from there on, New Zealand recovery from such a state was a credit to Conway and Glenn Phillips. The duo put on a 74-run stand, and while they were a tad watchful at the start of their association, they didn’t miss an opportunity to score big. Their partnership took New Zealand’s total to the 90s.
Phillips then fell to Marcus Stoinis, but that didn't stop Conway, who brought up his half-century off just 36 balls later that over. He couldn't be dislodged, putting on 47 with Jimmy Neesham and then 44* with Mitchell Santner, all the while plundering the bowlers.
Conway was unfortunate not to bring up his maiden T20I century - the innings ended with him stranded on 99*, but his belligerence gave New Zealand a firm foundation.
Chasing a target of 185, Australia started poorly, and never really recovered.
Southee and Boult took two wickets apiece in the first five overs, with Southee having Australia captain Aaron Finch caught in the very first over of the innings. Boult then had Josh Philippe top-edging one for another easy catch.
Matthew Wade, who scored a run-a-ball 12 got out to Boult. Southee, in his third over, had Glenn Maxwell edging one to slip for 1 and Australia were 19/4, and in all sorts of trouble.
Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis then helped Australia recover briefly, putting on a steady 37 in a little over four overs, with Stoinis playing a defensive 11-ball knock of 8. Unfortunately for Australia, he couldn't make the most of the foundation, pushing a return catch to Sodhi.
Halfway through the innings, Australia had lost half their side and still needed a daunting 122 more runs to win. They still showed some fight, with Marsh taking the attack to the New Zealand bowlers. He scored a 33-ball 45, hammering five fours and two sixes en route, but then he was dismissed by Kyle Jamieson.
In the next over, Sodhi had Sams and Ashton Agar dismissed within three balls, and he added the scalp of Richardson to the list in his next over.
Australia were eventually bowled out in 17.3 overs, and New Zealand had a well-deserved 1-0 series lead.(UNI)