Half-centuries from Glenn Maxwell and captain Aaron Finch, and a six-wicket haul to Ashton Agar, have helped Australia post a 64-run win over New Zealand in the third men’s Twenty20 international at a crowd-less Wellington Regional Stadium.
- Maxwell scored 70 and Finch made 69 as Australia reach 4-208
- Agar claimed career-best figures of 6-30 in New Zealand’s innings
- The Black Caps lead the five-match series 2-1
Maxwell made a breathtaking 70 from 31 deliveries and Finch scored 69 off 44 balls, as Australia reached 4-208 from its 20 overs.
The Black Caps were dismissed for 144 in reply, with Agar claiming the figures of 6 for 30.
Agar’s performance with the ball was a turning point in the match. He took three wickets in the 13th over of the Black Caps’ innings on his way to career-best figures.
Tasmanian speedster Riley Meredith picked up an impressive 2-24 on debut.
No spectators were allowed to attend Wednesday’s match in Wellington amid coronavirus concerns in New Zealand, with the result keeping the series in the balance.
The Black Caps lead 2-1 with two matches to go in Wellington, Australia’s win taking some pressure off the under-fire Finch.
Finch did need a slice of good fortune though, surviving a first-ball LBW decision by umpire Chris Gaffaney, with the ball hitting the stumps.
Shaking off the scare, Finch combined well with Josh Philippe (43 off 27), reaching his half-century with a stunning switch-hit six off Ish Sodhi.
The 34-year-old holed out from the spinner shortly after, but put his run of poor knocks firmly in the rear-view mirror.
With a platform laid for a decent total, Maxwell went to work.
The Victorian started slowly with just five runs off nine balls but accelerated sharply, making 65 off his next 20 deliveries.
Maxwell clubbed 28 off one Jimmy Neesham over to leave the Black Caps bowler with the dispiriting figures of 0-60.
One of his stunning shots even left its mark in the seating area of the stadium.
Setting out for what would be their highest-ever chase, the Black Caps struggled in response to Meredith’s pace.
In his first international over, Meredith claimed the wicket of Tim Seifert (4) as he ticked over 150 kilometres per hour.
In his second over he trapped Kane Williamson LBW for 9.
The wicket was sorely required, with Martin Guptill’s big-hitting putting the Black Caps on pace early.
Guptill almost decapitated the off-strike Williamson with a low drive on his way to 43 off 28 deliveries.
When the veteran was caught in the deep off Adam Zampa’s bowling, Australia was in the box seat.
Agar then made sure of the victory with a stunning spell, claiming his first wickets of the series to dismiss Glenn Phillips (13), Devon Conway (38) and Neesham (duck) in one over.
The series concludes with matches on Friday and Sunday.