Kiwis are on an unstoppable victory-run in this World Cup edition and they faced a close game against their co-hosts Australia yesterday.
Warner and Finch came out all guns blazing. They took the score 30/0 in 2.1 overs, but then the hero from the last match, Southee struck and sent back Finch. Watson and Warner kept attacking and added 50 runs for the second wicket.
However, the introduction of Vettori stemed the run flow. The veteran also provided the crucial wicket of Warner. After that the floodgates were opened. Warner was trapped LBW, he reviewed and Hawk-Eye showed that it was kissing the bails.
Boult returned for his second burst and just ran through the famed Australian batting line-up. The left-arm pacer send back Maxwell and Marsh in one over. Clarke was battling it out, but he too succumbed to the attacking fields set by B-Mac. Boult, then registered his maiden ODI 5-wicket haul by ripping through Johnson and Starc. Haddin then hit a few meaty blows to give some respectability to the score.
Nonetheless, it was still Australia’s lowest score in World Cups batting first. Brendon McCullum was aggressive in his field placements and his bowlers responded beautifully. From 80/1 to 106/9, the Kiwi bowlers pulled the curtains down on Australia. Eventually, after a 45-run partnership between Haddin and Cummins, Australia folded for 151.
At the start, McCullum came out all guns blazing and scored a quickfire 50 giving a impression that the Kiwis won’t take more than 12-15 overs to overhaul the petty target. But when Starc castled Elliott’s stumps, Australia were given a glimmer of hope. However, Anderson and Williamson added a solid 52-run partnership. The former looked scratchy, but he managed to stick it out with his partner.
Meanwhile, Williamson was tight in his technique and pounced on anything that was loose. Together they took the Kiwis to the brink victory. Everyone thought that the game was over by then, but with Anderson’s wicket, Australia were back in it. Starc ripped through the lower-order and was a wicket away, taking his side to a thrilling victory. He knocked over Milne and Southee in one over, and had two balls at Boult, who survived and Williamson finished it off the very first ball the next over with a handsome hit over the ropes. Starc was the standout performer with the ball for Australia.
The left-arm quick, swung the ball at high speeds and troubled all the batsmen. He finished with career-best figures of 6/28. Cummins supported him well with his pace and extra bounce. But, Johnson had a forgettable day as he conceded 68 runs in his 6 overs, the worst economy rate for him in ODIs. Overall, they were a few runs short.
Australia 151 for 10 in 32.2 overs.
New Zealand 152 for 9 in 23.1 overs.