22 Feb 2024

Cricket: Black Caps lose to Australia in last-ball thriller

6:48 am on 22 February 2024
Australian captain Mitchell Marsh celebrates winning the First Chappell-Hadlee Trophy T20 International against New Zealand, 2024.

Australian captain Mitchell Marsh celebrates winning the First Chappell-Hadlee Trophy T20 International against New Zealand, 2024. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Australia has won an absolute thriller to kick off their tour of New Zealand.

The opening T20 in Wellington came down to the final ball with Australia needing four runs and Tim David managed to find the rope despite the despairing dive of Glenn Phillips.

Rachin Ravindra scored 68 and Devon Conway 63 as the Black Caps scored 215 for three. Australian reached their target off the last ball with captain Mitchell Marsh top scoring with 72.

David's heroics saw him score a match-winning 31 off just 10 balls while Marsh produced a superb, unbeaten captain's knock and was also the pick of the Australian bowlers.

"A great game of cricket to start the series, and a nice feeling to be on the right end of it tonight," Marsh told TVNZ.

Losing skipper Mitch Santner conceded Australia is simply a very hard team to beat.

"We didn't bowl too bad but the power they posses all the way down is the reason I think they are pretty good.

"We know they keep coming with the bat, the only way to stop them is to take wickets and we didn't really do that today."

Winning the toss, New Zealand batted first and after a subdued first over, Finn Allen unleashed on Josh Halewood with a six to cow corner to kick start the innings.

Glen Maxwell was brought on to bowl the third, and Allen took to the part timer with consecutive sixes down the ground.

The Kiwis were flying at 36-0 after three, prompting Mitch Marsh to make another bowling change.

However, Pat Cummins was not spared from the carnage either as Allen and Conway cracked 15 from his first with both openers striking at over 200.

The tourists finally broke through with 61 on the board, Allen out for 32 after mistiming Mitchell Starc to David Warner at midwicket.

Rachin Ravindra joined Conway at the crease and had some luck early on with a top edge falling between fielders.

Allen's wicket halted the momentum temporarily, but Ravinda would soon find his rhythm and he sent Adam Zampa into the stands as the hundred came up for the kiwis.

Conway marked his return to form as he brought up his half century, his first in 23 innings, off 31 deliveries.

He and Ravindra re-ignited the innings as they peppered the Australian attack, taking the run-rate past eleven.

Ravindra notched his 50 from just 29 balls, taking Zampa for three more sixes in the 15th, also bringing up the century partnership for the pair.

With New Zealand looking to ice their innings, suddenly the Aussies struck twice in two balls, sending both set batsmen back to the shed, Ravindra for 68 and Conway for 63.

The double dismissal brought Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips to the middle with the score at 174-3 and less than four overs left.

Some lusty late blows from both men got New Zealand over the 200 mark, setting an imposing total for the tourists.

Devon Conway broke his form slump with a half century.

Devon Conway broke his form slump with a half century. Photo: Photosport

Ravindra told TVNZ it was a special moment to perform in front of his home crowd.

"It's pretty surreal. I spent a lot of time here growing up, watched a lot of cricket here so first time playing for New Zealand in Wellington with an atmosphere like that was amazing."

After looking scratchy early in his innings, Ravindra said Conway allowed him to get his eye in while keeping the runs coming at the other end.

"Cricket is about partnerships and lucky enough we were able to feed off each other."

Travis Head and David Warner made a solid start in the chase before Head skied Adam Milne to Tim Southee on 24.

Marsh survived his first ball as Santner opted for a dubious LBW review, replays showing it clearly missing leg stump.

The required run rate quickly crept up, but Australia kept the kiwis in check after taking 21 off Southee's second over.

A chance to dismiss Warner then went begging as Ravindra misjudged a difficult catch over his head.

The polarising opener immediately made New Zealand pay, dispatching Santner for back to back sixes.

Phillips made no mistake with the next opportunity, swallowing a catch at long on as Warner left to a hostile send off.

The dangerous Glenn Maxwell entered the arena, and it didn't take long for The Big Show to make his mark, slamming Ish Sodhi over the rope with a reverse slog and then pulling him for another six over fine leg.

Santner continued to leak runs, conceding 29 from his first two, with Australia bringing up 100 runs after just nine overs.

Just as Australia were looking in control, Lockie Ferguson ripped right through Maxwell, his 145km/ph delivery smashing into the stumps.

Maxwell's dismissal looked to seriously dent any Australian hopes, which now rested on skipper Marsh and Josh Inglis' shoulders.

Marsh survived another two chances in a row off Milne, first Southee spilling one at mid-off and Phillips parrying the next one over the boundary.

Marsh reached fifty shortly after, while Southee struggled with his line, sending down three wides to start his third.

Needing 46 off the final four, Santner swung the match back in his side's favour as Inglis sent him high into the night sky and Ravindra pouched a stunner.

Santner's final over went for just three to leave the Aussies with plenty to do.

However, Tim David was up to the challenge, clobbering Milne for two sixes to leave the visitors needing 16 off the last.

Southee was tasked with the final over, and it was a dramatic over which included a wide, a review for LBW, Marsh miss a full toss, and David sweep a six.

With four required off the final ball, David managed beat Phillips at wide long on to conclude an absolutely enthralling contest.

Game two in Auckland is on Friday.

Glenn Phillips takes a crucial catch to dismiss David Warner.

Glenn Phillips takes a crucial catch to dismiss David Warner. Photo: Photosport