Tim David’s last-ball boundary helps Aus win first T20I

Wellington, (UNI) Tim David’s brute force delivered Australia an exciting last-ball victory in the series-opening T20I against New Zealand after squeezing a Tim Southee yorker to the mid-wicket boundary with four runs needed.

David finished with an unbeaten 31 from just 10 balls as he and captain Mitchell Marsh (72 no off 44) posted their team across the line when Australia needed 43 off the final three overs.

David’s smashed two sixes and a boundary from the last three balls of the penultimate over leaving 15 to get off Southee’s last.

The game looked over when Australia needed 12 runs off the last three balls, but David smacked a stunning boundary on the full and then smacked two runs past cover before his final-ball hit that eluded the diving fielder at deep mid-wicket.

Marsh was the only Australian batsman to top 50 whereas New Zealand had opener Devon Conway and number three Rachin Ravindra in their match-defining stand that underpinned a total that proved insurmountable.

When Josh Inglis, batting at number five with Steve Smith watching from the sidelines, holed out for a run-a-ball 20, the equation looked beyond the visitors.

By the midway point of their chase, Australia were on track at 2-110 (compared to NZ’s 1-97 of their first 10) with the union between Marsh and Glenn Maxwell having realised 41 from just 18 balls at that stage.

Australia’s progress slowed after Glenn Maxwell’s stumps suffered a mortal fate after plundering 25 from 11 balls.

The task might have become more daunting had Josh Inglis not been dropped by a diving Tim Southee at mid-off when on seven, and Marsh not been granted a double blessing from Adam Milne’s next ball that he belted to square leg where Glenn Phillips missed the catch and parried it for six.

Australia’s skipper posted a half-century (from 29 balls) next over, as he kept his team in the hunt after the home team threatened to send their score beyond reach and their parochial fans into a state of euphoria.

The 113-run stand (from 64 balls) between Conway and Ravindra carried New Zealand to their third-highest T20I total against their historic rivals as they took advantage of the short boundaries square of the wicket at the venue known to locals as ‘the cake tin’.

Conway’s 63 off 46 deliveries represented a welcome return to form for the left-hander whose previous eight T20I innings stretching back more than a year had yielded a top score of 20.

And although he enjoyed some fortune against the new ball this evening – an attempted leg-side flick off Pat Cummins took the outside edge and flew over deep third for six – his innings might yet prove a turning point heading into the upcoming Tests.

He was initially upstaged by his contrastingly in-form T20 opening partner Finn Allen, who again took to Australia’s big-name bowling line-up to bludgeon 32 off 17 balls to get the Black Caps innings off to a flyer after skipper Mitchell Santner chose to bat first.

Allen, the hero of NZ’s win over Australia in the 2022 T20 World Cup, clubbed the first ball off Josh Hazlewood into the vacant seats beyond mid-wicket and then sliced the next one over cover for a boundary that bounced just inside the rope.

When Maxwell took the ball for the next over, Allen launched the first – a no-ball – back over the bowler’s head for a six and then repeated the shot with the free hit that followed.

It was a forgettable evening for Australia’s spin pair, with Maxwell (0-32 off two) and Adam Zampa (0-42 off three) suffering at the hands of left-handed pair Conway and Ravindra and conceding runs at almost 15 per over.

Ravindra made a scratchy start to his innings, scoring just seven from the first 10 balls he faced, before exploding into an array of strokes that have come to characterise his rapid ascent in the Test and 50-overs arena.

He then raced to a half-century off just 29 balls and the Black Caps were eyeing a total close to 230 before the set pair fell to consecutive deliveries, both of them caught by Mitchell Starc off Cummins and Marsh respectively.

Their departures left NZ 3-174 at the start of the 17th over before Mark Chapman (18no off 13) and Phillips (19no off 10) put on an unbeaten 41 off 23 to take the total to 215.

Phillips brought a rarely-seen innovation to the 20-over game when he crouched like a sprinter at the non-striker’s end before exploding out of the blocks the moment the bowler let go of the ball.

Australia’s chase began at a similarly frenzied speed, with reunited opening pair David Warner and Travis Head rattling on 29 from 22 balls before top-edged an attempted heave off Milne and fell to a clever catch by NZ’s Test skipper Southee – playing his only game of the T20 series – running back with the flight of the ball.

Warner might have fallen similarly on 18 when he to-ended an attempted pull off Ferguson, playing his first game for NZ since injuring his Achilles tendon during the ODI World Cup last November.

But Ravindra was unable to emulate his Test skipper as he ran back from mid-wicket and barely laid a hand on the chance as he dived full length.

Warner celebrated the reprieve by thumping consecutive sixes into the crowd from stand-in captain Mitch Santner next over but perished attempting a third as Australia slipped to 2-69 after seven.

Having aired his views on NZ crowds earlier this week, about the torrents of abuse he copped from fans on previous visits across the Tasman, Warner was given a rowdy send-off as he left the field tonight and duly blew a kiss to the stands in what seems certain to be his final appearance in NZ’s capital.

Leave a Reply