Sunday 15 February 2009 

Bracken Holds Nerve As Australia Clinch One-Run Win

Australia 150-7 (Hussey 41, O'Brien 2-34) beat
New Zealand 149-5 (B McCullum 61, Siddle 2-24) by one run

Twenty20 International, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
By Graham Wilson

Nathan Bracken conceded just 16 runs in four overs to hand Australia victory in their Twenty20 International against New Zealand by just one run at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Bracken bowled the final over when New Zealand had needed 14 to win and although they managed 13 with Nathan McCullum hitting the last two balls for ten runs, it wasn't enough for the Black Caps.

Australia hit 150 for 7 reaching their score on the back of 41 from David Hussey and 26 from Adam Voges as New Zealand bowled well after losing the toss. New Zealand were then restricted to 149 for five despite Brendon McCullum smashing 61 in 47 balls.

David Warner returned to the Australian side and hit four fours in his quickfire innings of 23 before he was caught by Daniel Vettori off of Iain O'Brien as he and Brad Haddin (15) put on 34 in 22 balls for the first wicket.

Callum Ferguson (8) was bowled by Ian Butler and New Zealand got back into the match but a partnership of 52 between Hussey and Voges put Australia back on track. It took until the 15th over of the innings for a six to be hit, that coming from Hussey as he made his 41 from 39 balls while Voges hit 26 from 24 with two boundaries.

Cameron White hit the second six of the innings on his way to 16 while Moises Henriques marked his Twenty20 International debut by being run out for one.

James Hopes was unbeaten on 16 and Peter Siddle on one with O'Brien (2-34) the most successful wicket-taking bowler but Vettori (1-23) the most economical.

Bracken then redefined economical by opening his spell with a maiden and an over that conceded one run and the pressure he built up enabled Peter Siddle to capitalise with the wickets of Martin Guptill (0) and Peter Fulton (1).

Brendon McCullum, who hit five fours and two sixes, then combined with Neil Broom (36) to get the run chase back on the rails with Australia's less experienced bowlers offering more run-scoring opportunities. Hopes broke the partnership when he had Broom caught by Callum Ferguson but when the same bowler was hit for 20 runs in the 17th over, it was game on with New Zealand requiring 20 to win in three overs.

Bracken returned to stem the flow of runs and when McCullum tried to take on Ben Hilfenhaus in the penultimate over, he was superbly caught by Voges at long-on, who had the presence of mind to throw the ball up having caught it, taking it at the second attempt to avoid coming into contact with the boundary rope.

That left the Black Caps 14 to win from Bracken's final over and the left-armer put Australia in control when James Franklin (3) was run out from the first ball and from the next three, Grant Elliott (23 not out) and Nathan McCullum (10 not out) could only manage a couple of leg byes.

With 11 needed from two balls only no balls or wides could stop Australia winning and Bracken was never going to give them a chance and although McCullum pulled him for four and then hit him over long-on for a six, the damage to New Zealand's chances had been done by Bracken earlier in the match.

New Zealand brought in Franklin, Butler and Nathan McCullum while Fulton got a game as Ross Taylor's hamstring injury prevented him from playing.

© Cricket World 2009

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