There couldn’t have been a better occasion than this for New Zealand to snap an eleven-year-long wait of beating Australia in their own backyard. In front of the boisterous crowd at Sydney Cricket Ground, New Zealand put up a clinical show to crush Australia in their opening clash of the T20 World Cup. Asked to chase 201, the hosts skittled out meekly for just 111.
Finn Allen justified the hype around him with a whirlwind knock that set the stage for New Zealand. He capitalised on the fullish deliveries from Mitchell Starc, who was hoping to get some inward movement in the early stage. Allen first flicked it over the mid-on and followed it with a wild rush towards another full delivery to deposit it in the stands.
Aaron Finch brought Pat Cummins to replace Mitchell Starc in the third over, but he too was taken to the cleaners by Allen. Allen loved dancing down the wicket to deal with the overpitched deliveries, and once when Cummins decided to test him by banging it in short, the result was a flat six over the mid-wicket.
From the other end, Devon Conway played the anchoring role, and was the glue for the Kiwi batting throughout the innings. The breezy start by Allen already set up the base for a big total, but Australia did well to squeeze the flow of runs by getting him out. Kane Williamson again looked out of place, labouring his way to a run-a-ball 23 before being pinned leg-before by Adam Zampa.
Hazlewood then picked his second after grabbing an easy return catch from Glenn Phillips and then followed it with almost a great last over. He had managed to contain both Conway and James Neesham, restricting them to rely on singles and doubles, before bowling the last ball in the slot. Neesham launched that one over long-on to bring 200 for New Zealand.
In need of an explosive start, the first setback came when David Warner’s attempted pull towards the square-leg region resulted in a very comical dismissal. Warner’s follow-through of the bat deflected the ball into his stumps. It was a wicket that perfectly embodied the kind of day Australia had.
Aaron Finch tried to counterattack with a six and a four in the next over of Trent Boult, and his assault was followed by more boundaries from Mitchell Marsh, but neither of them stayed long enough to alter the balance of the game. Finch ended up holing to Kane Williamson at the extra-cover, while Marsh’s shot found Neesham in the deep.
There was still a semblance of hope for the hosts when Glenn Maxwell was reverse-sweeping relentlessly to pull Australia out of crisis mode. But then Marcus Stoinis and Tim David departed in the space of two overs, leaving Maxwell stranded with an uphill task and without any partner. In the end, Australia were all out for 111.
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