Australia set a new Twenty20 run chase record of 245 on Friday (Feb 16) to beat New Zealand by five wickets in the fifth match of the T20 tri-series in Auckland.
Australia chased down a record 244 to beat New Zealand by five wickets in Auckland, reaching their target with seven balls to spare. The T20 Tri-Series match produced 32 sixes and a total of 488 runs for the loss of 11 wickets.
Australia had already reached the final; their opponents will be decided on Wednesday when New Zealand play England, also in Auckland.
A combination of Eden Park’s short boundaries and a docile pitch meant the writing was on the wall for the bowlers from the off. New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and Colin Munro shared an opening stand of 132 in 10.4 overs.
Guptill finished with 105 from 54 deliveries, hitting nine sixes to become the leading runscorer in international T20 cricket. Munro scored even quicker, racking up 76 in 33 balls. Andrew Tye claimed the wickets of both batsmen but also suffered more than most, going for 64 from his four-over stint.
Australia fought back, conceding only 48 from the last five overs – a relative improvement that would prove crucial.
At the start of Australia’s innings, David Warner, who made 59, and D’Arcy Short, who made 76, flung the bat with abandon in the powerplay, improbably racing ahead of the rate in reaching 91 without loss after six overs.
They put on 121 before Warner was undone by Ish Sodhi’s googly but Australia’s confidence never waned. Ben Wheeler, a late call-up for the injured Mitchell Santner, suffered most as Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch all played entertaining cameos. Wheeler was well on the way to the worst figures in the history of international T20 when successive no-ball beamers saw him taken out of the attack by the umpires after shipping 64 runs from 3.1 overs.
Then, with Australia needing four to win, Finch blasted Colin de Grandhomme for the winning six – the only way a game like this should end – to ensure the final over was not required.