Qantas Tour of NZ 2018
Unbeaten Australia claim tri-series
Aussies complete flawless campaign, winning tri-series final to make it five wins from five
Louis Cameron at Eden Park
21 February 2018, 11:54 PM AEST
The scorecard: New Zealand 9-150 (Taylor 43, Agar 3-27) lost to Australia 3-121 (Short 50) by 19 runs on the Duckworth Lewis Stern system.
The match in a tweet: Eden Park onslaught gives way to wet final fizzer. Aussies down Black Caps in rain-hit sequel to complete perfect series #NZvAUS
The collapse: Any attack that manages to restrict a team to 150 from 20 overs on the postage stamp that is Eden Park deserves some major plaudits. Australia's bowling brigade, largely unheralded at the outset of this series, have hardly put a foot wrong in this tri-series and saved perhaps their very best for the biggest stage. After Wednesday's carnage at this venue, Australia captain David Warner identified early wickets as the key to halting another run-fest. And while the Black Caps looked on track for another monster total when ace duo Martin Guptill and Colin Munro had New Zealand going at 10-an-over early on, a devastating collapse set in. Spinner Ashton Agar (more on him below) took three wickets in eight balls and pace duo Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye (both 2-30 off four) picked up two scalps apiece as New Zealand lost 8-62 in a 9.5-over stretch. Allrounder Marcus Stoinis (1-23) also chipped in and was again frugal, as Australia's seamers collectively went at 7.5 per over – a far cry from what had been expected after Friday night. New Zealand's surprising procession was briefly halted with a 38-run ninth-wicket stand between Ross Taylor and No.10 Ish Sodhi (13 off 16). But while Taylor pushed the total to an even 150, it was never likely to be enough.
The injury: Australia's night was soured by the distressing sight of Chris Lynn suffering yet another injury blow. Lynn landed awkwardly on his right shoulder during the ninth over of the Black Caps' innings after diving to stop a ball at mid-wicket. Medical staff escorted Lynn from the field, with the batsman clutching his right arm in pain. It was later confirmed that he'd dislocated his shoulder, which is the opposite arm to the one he had operated on last year, and went for scans. He later returned to the ground in a sling to watch his side secure the win as he, along with Australia and his various domestic T20 sides, await the results of his x-rays.
The hero: Ashton Agar had been the unsung hero for Australia in this series, but tonight he got his due reward. With four wickets from Australia's four preceding wins, the left-armer may have flown under the radar as the tournament's most economical bowler. But his three strikes tonight turned the game. After bowling Australia's first over of spin in the Power Play for the whole tri-series, Agar returned to clean bowl New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, one of the southern hemisphere's better players of the turning ball, as the rot set in. The Western Australian then removed big-hitting duo Mark Chapman and Colin de Grandhomme as the hosts slumped from 2-72 to 5-91. Agar looks to have well and truly claimed the mantle as the side's first-choice T20 spinner from leggie Adam Zampa.
The support cast: Australia stumbled following a fast start from Warner (25 off 23) and D'Arcy Short, and while Aaron Finch (18 off 13 balls) and Glenn Maxwell (20 off 18 balls) safely steered the visitors home before rain ended play, it was Short who played the game's decisive hand. After his record-breaking Big Bash campaign, the left-hander has made the leap to international cricket with aplomb and backed up his 76 from Friday night's clash at the same venue. Short slammed three sixes in the Power Play as the normally destructive Warner played second fiddle to his opening partner. An initial rain delay halted his onslaught before he brought up his second international half-century off 28 balls. He holed out soon after to part-timer Colin Munro but his knock set Australia on course for tri-series glory.
The consolation effort: Taylor arrived at the crease with the Kiwis at 3-72 in the eighth over, far from an unsalvageable position. But within six overs, New Zealand were 8-110 as the veteran watched a parade of Black Cap bats come and go. Accordingly, he struck just two fours and a six in his measured knock. Nonetheless his effort to get the hosts to something resembling a competitive total at least gave his side something to defend.
The stat: Australia have now won their past six 20-over games (not including an abandoned match in Hyderabad against India in October), equaling their record T20I winning streak from 2010