Recent Match Report – New Zealand vs Australia 1st T20I 2023/24


Australia 216 for 4 (Marsh 72*, Warner 32, David 31*, Santner 2-42) beat New Zealand 215 for 3 (Ravindra 68, Conway 63, Marsh 1-21) by six wickets

Australia captain Mitchell Marsh produced a powerful all-round performance before Tim David batted superbly at the death to complete a last-ball win over New Zealand in a high-scoring series opener in Wellington.

Chasing 216 after Devon Conway emerged from a form slump with a half-century, Australia appeared on the brink of defeat despite Marsh’s effort. But David took over with 31 off 10 balls punctuated by a boundary through the leg-side off Tim Southee to seal Australia’s remarkable heist.

Australia drew first blood in the fight for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, which had previously only been awarded to the winner of bilateral ODI series between the teams. With the T20 World Cup just over three months away, the three-match series is vital preparation for both teams.

Marsh, David star in huge chase

There was no room for Steven Smith in Australia’s batting order, with Travis Head returning after missing the West Indies series. He opened alongside David Warner for the first time in T20Is. But neither could capitalise on starts. Warner was booed off the ground by the partisan crowd and responded by giving them a wave.

It was left to Marsh, who obliged with typically belligerent batting. Anything in his hitting zone was handled with disdain as he motored to his half-century off 29 balls. But Marsh lacked support as Australia fell away and needed a seemingly improbable 32 runs off nine balls to win. But David took over with a boundary off Adam Milne before launching consecutive sixes to reduce Australia’s target to 16 runs off the final over.

Southee bowled well at the start of the final over by bowling a few yorkers, but David again showed his prowess at finishing with a six over the leg-side off the full-tossed fourth delivery of the 20th over. Two balls later, his swat through wide long on with two fielders converging went for four, and underlined a remarkable chase that underlined their firepower. It also illustrated that there might not be room for Smith at the T20 World Cup.

Ferguson sizzles, sloppy fielding proves costly

Milne and Lockie Ferguson were only playing their 10th T20I together. They menaced with prodigious swing at rapid pace with Ferguson reaching speeds of 150 kmph.

Milne claimed the much-needed first wicket after a flier from Head, while Ferguson chimed in by getting through Glenn Maxwell to halt Australia’s momentum.

Ferguson was superb throughout and bowled accurate yorkers under pressure in a brilliant 18th over that appeared to put New Zealand in the box seat. But New Zealand ultimately rued sloppy fielding, most notably Glenn Phillips missing a chance on the boundary when Marsh was on 36.

Australia’s frontline quicks return, Marsh impresses with ball

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, who had both rested for the past three weeks since the Test summer ended, played their first T20I since the 2022 T20 World Cup as Australia unveiled a full-strength attack.

Starc was on the money immediately as he angled a delivery past Finn Allen on the first delivery of an excellent first over. He returned in the sixth over to pick up Allen having not let him have any width to hit.

Starc was the pick of the bowlers until he was thrashed for 16 runs in the penultimate over of the innings. Cummins had also mostly defied the onslaught with his canny array of slower deliveries before being dispatched for 15 runs in the last over.

After recording the worst-ever figures by an Australian bowler in T20Is in their last match against West Indies, legspinner Adam Zampa copped another flogging with 1 for 42 from 3 overs. Australia, who sloppily conceded 15 extras, became the first team ever to concede four straight 200-plus totals in T20I cricket.

In better news for Australia, Marsh utilised slower deliveries effectively and claimed the wicket of Conway to finish with 1 for 21 off 3. Marsh didn’t use himself against West Indies but stepped up here with Marcus Stoinis missing from the series.

Conway returns to form, Ravindra impresses

Conway entered the series finding himself in his career’s first prolonged form slump. Conway got out of it by perhaps channelling the last time he batted against Australia in a T20 match when he made an unbeaten 92 to launch the 2022 T20 World Cup.

It was deja vu with Conway and Allen again monstering a half-century inside four overs just like they did at the SCG. Conway relished a surface that was fast with a consistent bounce to notch his first international half-century since last year’s ODI World Cup. His knock was marked by superb back-foot play as he continually whacked shorter deliveries in a confidence-boosting innings.

After Allen fell just before the end of the powerplay, Conway combined with Rachin Ravindra, who was sluggish early and was halted initially by Cummins’ nagging line and length. But Ravindra eventually found his groove and pummelled Zampa for a trio of sixes in the 15th over.

Ravindra raced to his second T20I half-century off just 29 balls to make the most of his opportunity with skipper Kane Williamson not playing due to the birth of his third child. The top-order batting, plus the finishing touches by Phillips and Mark Chapman, meant big-hitting debutant Josh Clarkson was not required.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth



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