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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

From Marcus Stoinis blitz to eliminator thriller: Top 5 close AUS-NZ finishes

New Zealand’s six-run win over Australia in the first ODI of a three-match series was the latest in a long list of close finishes between Australia and New Zealand

cricket Updated: Jan 31, 2017 08:59 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times
Marcus Stoinis celebrates the wicket of Kane Williamson during the first ODI between New Zealand and Australia on Monday.
Marcus Stoinis celebrates the wicket of Kane Williamson during the first ODI between New Zealand and Australia on Monday.(AFP)

Marcus Stoinis’s valiant ton went in vain as New Zealand clinched a thrilling six-run victory over Australia in the first ODI of a three-match series at Auckland on Saturday.

The middle-order batsman, included in the side as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh nursing a shoulder injury, came in to bat at 54/5 with Australia 233 runs shy of winning the tie. Thirty two balls later, debutant Sam Heazlett was on his way back after edging one to stand-in ’keeper Tom Latham. With a crushing defeat looming large, Stoinis led the charge by taking strike, plundered the Kiwi bowling attack and had brought victory tantalizingly close for the Baggy Greens.

However, as luck would have it, a sharp throw from Kane Williamson ran Josh Hazlewood out in the last ball of the 47th over and brought curtains for Stonis (146) and Australia at the Eden Park. The trans-Tasman derby has seen various such clashes and nail-biting finishes in the limited-overs format over the years. Here are a few in recent times:

February 15, 2009: Australia won by a run

It was a one-off T20I match between Australia and New Zealand where as many as eight players debuted for their countries in the format — Callum Ferguson, Moises Henriques and Peter Siddle for Australia; Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill and Iain O’Brien for New Zealand.

It was Australia who won the toss and opted to bat first. Riding on a 39-ball 41 from David Hussey and 24-ball 26 from Adam Voges, the then World Champions put up 150 for the loss of seven wickets — a modest score in those days.

Australia started well, got rid of Martin Guptill (0) and Peter Fulton (1) inside the first three overs, and seemed to be on course for a good victory. However, New Zealand had a certain Brendon McCullum in their armory, who blasted a 61-ball 71 and was well assisted by Neil Broom (36). New Zealand needed 20 to win off the last two overs but lost McCullum in the very first ball of the 19th over and James Franklin in the 20th. They needed 12 off the last two balls but Brendon’s elder brother Nathan McCullum could only take 10.

February 28, 2015: New Zealand won by 1 wicket

The stage was set. It was the World Cup and all eyes were on Australia and New Zealand in Pool A as they teams were packed with power-hitters like no other. Australia won the toss and chose to bat first.

Australia were cruising at 76/1 at the end of the 12th over. However, after Watson and Warner fell in successive deliveries, it didn’t take New Zealand too much of an effort to wind up the rest and Australia were soon bundled out for a paltry 151.

Kane Williamson has been crucial for New Zealand in several important matches against Australia.
Kane Williamson has been crucial for New Zealand in several important matches against Australia. ( AFP )

It was a similar story when New Zealand came on to bat. From 72/1 at the end of the seventh over, they lost three wickets in five balls. Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson had almost bailed them out of trouble but they again faltered near the finishing line. A brutal spell from Mitchell Starc saw New Zealand lose four wickets in 10 balls to be reduced to 146/9; still six short of victory.

But as they say, the best form of defense is to take the offensive route. With pressure piling on, Williamson slammed Cummins over long-on for a gigantic six to hand New Zealand the iconic 1-wicket victory.

March 3, 2010: New Zealand won by 2 wickets

It was the first game of the five-match ODI series and Australia elected to bat first after winning the toss. Able contributions from Mike Hussey (59), Shane Watson (45) and Ricky Ponting (44) and a late 11-ball 21 cameo from Mitchell Johnson guided them to a decent total of 275/8.

New Zealand started well with Brendon McCullum (45) and Peter Ingram (40) building a 75-run opening stand for the hosts. Once they departed, Ross Taylor (70) and Scott Styris (49) took over the baton but unfortunately, the rest failed to follow suit. When Tim Southee departed at 246 in the 47th over, New Zealand needed 30 off 22 deliveries. Australia clearly had the advantage but veterans Styris and Shane Bond had other ideas and held fort. To cap off the gritty stand, Styris hit a six with the scores tied to pull off the memorable victory.

March 18, 2016: New Zealand won by 8 runs

It was yet another World Cup; albeit this time in the shortest format of the game. In the picturesque Dharamsala ground, New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first.

It was a terrific start from the Kiwis who scored 61 in the first seven overs but saw that run rate drop to just 7.1 when they finished at 142 after 20 overs. In a bowling-friendly track, Shane Watson was the pick of the bowlers with 12 dots in his four overs and three wickets to show for.

However, a disciplined line from Williamson’s men saw Australia score just 134 in 20 overs with a wicket to spare. It wasn’t an individual brilliance that took the game away from the Aussies but a combined effort from the bowlers who shared 47 dots between them. Australia needed 19 off the last over and despite a six from Peter Nevill, Corey Anderson picked up two wickets to seal the game.

February 28, 2010: Match tied (New Zealand won the one-over eliminator)

New Zealand were trailing 1-0 in the two-match T20I series when Brendon McCullum produced one of the finest knocks in T20I history by blasting a 56-ball 116 to take New Zealand to 214/6 in 20 overs.

It’s needless to say that it was a one-man show in Christchurch as the swashbuckling batsman hit eight sixes and 12 boundaries. Apart from David Hussey and Steve Smith, none of the Australian bowlers had an economy rate of less than 10.

However, in tune with their reputation, Australia started off their innings in fine style going a tad shy of the required rate in the first 10 overs. They then upped the ante riding on knocks from captain Michael Clarke (67 off 45 balls), Cameron White (64 off 26) and Brad Haddin (47 off 36) as they tied the score at the end of the 20th over.

With three runs required off the last ball, Clarke hit one towards the fence but a brilliant work in the deep by Nathan McCullum not just saved the boundary, the throw saw Clarke well short of his crease to help New Zealand force the Super Over.

In the one-over eliminator, Southee kept it tight by giving away just six runs while picking up the wicket of David Warner. Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill required just three balls to chase down the target.

First Published: Jan 30, 2017 21:56 IST

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