Australia 245-5 (Short 76) beat
New Zealand 243-6 (Guptill 105) by
5th T20I, Tri-Series, Auckland
Openers David Warner and D'Arcy Short scored half-centuries while Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch made valiant contributions down the order as Australia chased down the highest score in Twenty20 Internationals against New Zealand with five wickets in hand in the 19th over in the fifth game of the tri-series in Auckland.
This is also the highest chase made by a team in T20Is and 32 sixes in the game equals the record for most maximums in T20Is.
New Zealand won the toss and decided to bat first on what was a flat Eden Park surface with short boundaries. Martin Guptill (105) kick-started the proceedings smashing three boundaries and a six to take the total to 25 runs in the first two overs.
Guptill continued to step up the gear and with Colin Munro (76) too joining the onslaught at the other end, the 50-run opening stand came off just 28 deliveries and by the end of the powerplay, New Zealand reached 67 for naught.
Both Guptill and Munro reached their respective half-centuries off 30 and 27 deliveries respectively as the Black Caps reached 114 for naught at the halfway mark.
Andrew Tye (2-64) had an indifferent game when he was welcomed with hat-trick of sixes in his second over by Munro but the speedster got his revenge when he had him caught at long-on, bringing to an end a 132-run opening stand off just 64 deliveries.
Guptill went on to surpass Brendon McCullum's record in the 11th over to become the leading run-scorer in T20Is and with four sixes and five boundaries in a span of six deliveries, he scored his second T20I century, needing just 49 deliveries for it.
Even though Austalia did manage to remove Tim Seifert (12), Mark Chapman (16), Colin de Grandhomme (3) and Kane Williamson (1) in the end overs, a blistering six ball cameo from Ross Taylor (17 not out) ensured the Black Caps posted 243 for six in the 20 overs - their second highest and sixth overall total in T20Is.
Chasing 244 is never going to be an easy task despite Australia have reached the final already but their chances were boosted by early blitz from Short (76), who smashed five boundaries and a six in the first three overs while skipper Warner (59) plundered for sixes in the next two overs to take the visitors to 91 runs in the powerplay.
Warner completed his fifty off just 19 deliveries but was castled by Ish Sodhi (1-35) after that. Chris Lynn (18) was handed an early reprieve by Guptill but he could not make use of it has he holed to sweeper cover off de Grandhomme (1-56).
Short at the other end, completed his maiden T20I fifty and he was greatly aided by Glenn Maxwell (31) as the brought their 50-run stand off just 19 deliveries.
Even though the wickets, Short, Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis (4) could have given New Zealand some hope, Aaron Finch (36 not out) with his 14-ball brilliance that had three apiece of sixes and boundaries helped Australia complete the chase in 18.5 overs with five wickets in hand.
Short was awarded the man of the match as Australia end the league stage undefeated. The other finalist will be decided by the final game of the group between New Zealand and England on Sunday
© Cricket World 2018