Maxwell, Agar shine as Australia down New Zealand in third T20I

The result leaves the five-match series at 2-1 in New Zealand’s favour with two games to go

WELLINGTON: Spinner Ashton Agar produced the best bowling performance in Australia’s Twenty20 international history in a 64-run win over New Zealand in Wellington on Wednesday.

Agar’s match-turning six for 30, including three in one over, derailed a New Zealand fightback as Australia avoided a series loss in the third Twenty20 international. Under-fire skipper Aaron Finch hit 69, his best T20 international score for more than two years, and Glenn Maxwell smashed 70 from 31 balls.

The result leaves the five-match series at 2-1 in New Zealand’s favour with two games to go.

Finch said the Australians, who have rested stars such as David Warner, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc for the New Zealand tour, were still targeting a series win.

Australia finished their 20 overs at 208-4 after losing the toss and being asked to bat. In reply, New Zealand were bundled out for 144 in 17.1 overs thanks to Agar’s heroics.

Only four players have taken six wickets in a men’s T20 international before, none of them from Australia.

In the face of the Australian onslaught, the Black Caps lacked the swagger of the opening two matches, with shellshocked all-rounder Jimmy Neesham conceding 28 runs in a single over as Maxwell ran riot.

The focus ahead of the match was Finch’s poor form. Critics including former great Mark Waugh had questioned Finch’s place in the team but Australia selector George Bailey this week insisted Finch would remain captain for the T20 World Cup in India later this year.

The Australian captain was lucky to avoid an LBW dismissal on the first ball he faced.

But Finch responded to the close shave with controlled aggression, using his feet and attacking the ball to forge an 83-run partnership with Josh Philippe, who made a well-crafted 43.

Finch repaid Baily’s faith with his highest score in T20 internationals since July 2018, including a 43-ball half century that was his first in more than a year.

Maxwell also shook off a lean spell bringing up a 25-ball half century.

Opener Martin Guptill’s 43 and a Devon Conway knock of 38 were highlights for New Zealand.

But Agar snuffed out hopes of a home victory with six consecutive wickets that took the New Zealanders from 109 for four to 144 for nine.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Must Read

Akram calls for addressing inequality crisis, mobilising financing for recovery from...

NEW YORK: Pakistan Ambassador to UN Munir Akram has called on the global community to address the crisis of inequality and mobilise financing for...