Record-breaking Australia chase 244 to beat New Zealand in T20I run fest
The result means the Black Caps and England face each other on Sunday for the chance to meet Australia in the Triangular Series final.
Australia completed a world-record Twenty20 chase as they hunted down a staggering target of 244 against New Zealand at Auckland.
The combination of Eden Park’s short boundaries, a docile pitch and fearless hitting from both sides saw an incredible 32 sixes in the match with a combined 488 runs scored for the loss of 11 wickets.
New Zealand’s 243 for six was the seventh highest international total of all time in the format, and 29 more than Australia had ever conceded, but the visitors somehow took the win with seven balls remaining.
What a game we've had at Eden Park! Australia pull off the biggest successful run chase in T20I history to beat New Zealand by 5 wickets in a classic! #NZvAUS scorecard ➡️ https://t.co/Cidk6uRryy pic.twitter.com/RQm52tEXev— ICC (@ICC) February 16, 2018
The result denied New Zealand the chance to book their place against their rivals in the Triangular Series final, to be held at the same venue on February 21, and they now go head to head with England on Sunday.
The writing was on the wall for the bowlers from the off, Black Caps duo Martin Guptill and Colin Munro sharing an opening stand of 132 in 10.4 overs.
Guptill finished with 105 in just 54 deliveries, his second T20 ton including nine maximums, but Munro scored even quicker piling on 76 in in 33 balls.
Andrew Tye claimed both men, but suffered more than most with 64 from his four-over stint.
Australia managed to get away with 48 for four from the last five overs, a relative improvement that would later prove crucial.
David Warner (59) and D’Arcy Short (76) flung the bat with abandon in the powerplay, improbably racing ahead of the rate at 91 without loss after six overs.
They eventually put on 121 before Warner was undone by Ish Sodhi’s googly, but Australia’s confidence never waned.
Ben Wheeler, a late call-up for the injured Mitchell Santner, was the ultimate fall guy as Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch all played entertaining cameos.
He was well on the way to the worst figures in the history of T20Is when successive no-ball beamers saw him taken out of the attack by the umpires having shipped 64 runs from 3.1 overs.
Congrats to Australia who have chased down 243 with 7 balls to spare! The largest successful run-chase in T20Is. 32 sixes in the match - an equal record. #WOW Card | https://t.co/XZBLWf7gGU #TriSeries #NZvAUS pic.twitter.com/OqLUZLKH4v— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 16, 2018
Finch blasted Colin de Grandhomme for the match-winning six – the only way a game like this should end – to ensure the final over was not even required.