Playing two Test matches against India was a mistake: David Warner
3 Mar 2021
Having been pushed against the wall after the loss in the first two T20Is, Australia came into the third T20I all guns blazing and defeated the hosts New Zealand by a big margin of 64 runs to keep the series alive.
Chasing a momentous target of 209 runs in was always going to be difficult for New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington and an impressively accurate Ashton Agar broke their back in the middle overs to suppress any chance of them chasing the total.
Martin Guptill was in no mood to waste his hard-earned form and took off from where he had finished in the last game in Dunedin. The pacer duo of Jhye Richardson and the debutant Riley Meredith came under his hammer in the first couple of overs, but the newcomer held his nerve and saw the better of Seifert in the very first over of his T20I career.
Aaron Finch was trying to be proactive and introduced the leg spinner Adam Zampa fairly early in the piece, but both Williamson and Guptill took a liking to him before Meredith came back with a changed end to snaffle a big wicket of Williamson.
At the end of the powerplay, New Zealand were not way off track with 59 runs on the board although with the loss of two wickets.
The hero of the first game - Devon Conway started opening his shoulders right after the end of the powerplay and Agar was taken to the cleaners by the left-hander. Agar conceded 12 runs in his first over and it looked like a terrible day on the filed was on offer.
Adam Zampa punched a deadly blow to the Blackcaps by dismissing Guptill in the ninth over as Guptill felt the need of going big in the wake of run-rate surging past 11 runs per over.
The next man in - Glenn Phillips and Conway tried their best to get the hosts back on track but it was not to be tonight as Agar came back to redeem himself with his second over and took three big wickets of Phillips, Conway and James Neesham.
109/3 in 12 overs quickly became 111/6 and the prospect of a New Zealand win was all over before Agar came back to pick up two big wickets of Mark Chapman and Tim Southee in consecutive overs to crush whatever chances of magic the hosts had in the game. Agar finished with a magnificent figure of 30/6 and was rightly adjudged the Player of the Match.
Earlier in the evening, Kane Williamson won the toss and asked the Australians to bat first on a pitch that left Australian skipper Aaron Finch weary for the moisture in it.
The opening duo from New Zealand -Tim Southee and Trent Boult started off on a usual note and swung the balls from both ends. Boult was the first to strike and edged Matthew Wade to Guptill at the only slip stationed.
There was a lot of noise about Aaron Finch’s lack of form leading up to this game, and he silenced one and all in some style. He was in an ominous mood from the word go and made his intentions clear in the third over by walking down the pitch and blasting Southee down the ground.
Australia’s number three - Josh Philippe has been impressive with the bat although he has not been able to win Australia games in this series. He was up and ready against Boult who was guilty of spraying the ball towards his pads in search of swing.
The hero of the last game with the ball - James Neesham were not to have a great day and Finch provided an early hint with a first-ball six off the right-armer. His first over yielded 10 runs, while the second was an even expensive one but his tormentor was Philippe.
Williamson brought Ish Sodhi into the attack and the leg spinner repaid faith by getting Philippe on the way back to the pavilion, but Finch’s show was to continue.
At the end of the 13th over, Australia were 116/2 and with Finch and the new man Maxwell at the crease, they were poised to a big total, something in the excess of 200 runs by the end of the 20th over.
Seeing Neesham getting tonked all across the ground, Williamson brought back the Boult-Southee duo once again, but by then, Australia had a completely different outlook than the one battered by the hosts in the last two games. Boult conceded 14 runs while Southee was smashed around the corners for 15 runs in his over.
Sodhi came back to dismiss Finch after a 44-ball-69, but the baton was passed on to Maxwell and he looked like on a mission to annihilate Neesham and take revenge from him for defeating them in the last game.
New Zealand were a bowler short and hence Neesham was persisted with by Williamson and what followed in the 17th over of the innings was nothing but a brutal onslaught by Maxwell. Neesham tried everything from yorkers to short balls, but failures to execute properly allowed Maxwell to get hold of his deliveries and the over yielded 28 runs.
Southee came back to see the back of Maxwell but not before he had taken away the momentum from the hosts with a nerve-racking 37-ball-70.
New Zealand were able to carry out a bit of damage control, conceding only eight and nine runs in the last two overs, but Australia had already scored enough by the 18th over to test every bit of New Zealand’s might with the bat in the second innings.