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New Zealand crush Australia by 159 runs

February 3rd, 2016 | by admin
New Zealand crush Australia by 159 runs
Australia
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At Eden Park last February, New Zealand secured the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy with a tense one-wicket victory in a low-scoring contest, one of the most thrilling matches of the World Cup. At Eden Park this February, New Zealand have gone one step towards retaining the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy with a much more comfortable win. This time only half the match was low-scoring: Australia were bundled out for 148 inside 25 overs. They were only 160 short of their target.

It was New Zealand’s second-biggest ODI win over Australia in terms of runs; the only larger victory was the 206-run margin secured at Adelaide Oval in 1986, when Richard Hadlee and Ewen Chatfield ran through the Australian top order. This time it was Trent Boult and Matt Henry who reduced Australia to 41 for 6. From there, Australia’s all-time ODI low total of 70 was in danger, until James Faulkner and Matthew Wade nudged them into triple figures.

Chasing scores around 300 might have proved simple for the Australians against India last month on the flat pitches of home, but on a slowish Eden Park surface and against a quality pace attack, it was not so easy. In fact, Australia had done well to even drag New Zealand’s total back to 307 for 8, after Martin Guptill started the innings off with 90 before the 25-over mark. But Australia’s attack, missing Mitchell Starc who had taken six wickets in last year’s game, lacked penetration.

Their chase was doomed from the first few overs. Henry and Boult found just enough movement to cause trouble and hit the right lengths, whereas Australia’s bowlers had taken too long to find the clichéd “good areas”. Henry had Shaun Marsh caught at slip for 5 in the second over, a dismissal that may serve to convince Australia’s selectors at last that Usman Khawaja is a necessary inclusion for the second match in Wellington.

Steven Smith played on to Henry for 18, David Warner was lbw to a Boult ball that would have cleared the bails for 12, George Bailey flicked Henry to midwicket for 2, Glenn Maxwell was brilliantly taken by Kane Williamson at mid-off off Boult for a duck, and Mitchell Marsh was snapped up at second slip off Boult, also without scoring. That probably took about as long to read as it to happen. It meant that Faulkner, Australia’s designated finisher, was at the crease inside ten overs.

A 79-run partnership between Faulkner and Wade followed, but it was all academic, and served only to push Australia’s total up to almost exactly what they had made in the World Cup game at Eden Park last year. Wade (37) and Faulkner (36) fell in consecutive overs and, on a pitch the New Zealanders had expected to take spin, Mitchell Santner finished the match with two wickets from his only two deliveries.

It was a humiliating result for the Australians, who have only two more ODIs in which to attempt to win back the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, while also using these games as the only opportunity for several of their Test players to acclimatise ahead of the Trans-Tasman Trophy series. One of those men is the captain, Smith, who perhaps misread the pitch when he sent New Zealand in: McCullum said he would have batted in any case, expecting the wicket – the same one used in Sunday’s ODI against Pakistan – to slow as the game went on.

There was nothing slow about the start – at least, after the first 14 balls brought just one run. McCullum then went bang, taking 20 off four balls from Josh Hazlewood, and in the next over Guptill launched Kane Richardson onto the roof for six more. The opening stand of 79 from 10.5 overs ended when McCullum was bowled trying to smash Faulkner through the off side on 44 from 29 balls, and when Kane Williamson was out for a rare duck Australia felt they had a chance.

But Guptill found an ally in Henry Nicholls, and their 100-run stand pushed New Zealand well past the total that Australia eventually made. Australia had been a difficult opponent for Guptill in the past – in 33 innings against them across all formats this was just his third half-century – but he enjoyed the absence of Starc and Mitchell Johnson, and struck eight fours and five sixes.

He looked set for a century until he took off for a quick single when Nicholls bunted to the off side; Guptill was sent back and Maxwell’s direct hit had him well short on 90. From there New Zealand lost momentum, but they were already 181 for 3 inside 25 overs, so it’s all relative. Nicholls steered himself to 61 from 67 balls and there were contributions from the middle and lower order, including an unbeaten 35 from Santner.

Only 32 runs came from overs 31 to 40 and Australia might been pleased with their efforts. But in the end, they were the only team who replicated the low-scoring World Cup contest at Eden Park nearly a year ago. And the end result was a reminder that this tour will be much tougher than their recent home summer.

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