New Zealand defeated Australia in a Group 2 clash of the ICC T20 Word Cup 2016 to register their second consecutive victory of the tournament by eight runs in Dharamsala on 18 March.
New Zealand won the toss and Kane Williamson elected to bat first – despite fears of the weather playing spoilsport – which went as per their plans as the captain and Martin Guptill gave the side a good start.
Ashton Agar, who was a surprise inclusion in Australia's line up conceded 18 runs in one over as Guptill smashed three sixes down the ground. That was the only time he was allowed to ball.
The Black Caps cruised as they scored 58 runs in the first six overs without losing a wicket. However, Guptill was the first man to be dismissed off James Faulkner's bowling, resulting in a simple catch to Glenn Maxwell at cow corner.
Kane Williamson was the next man to go as he was looking for a big shot, which ended up straight in Agar's hands, who was at long off. Corey Anderson played a similar shot off Maxwell's delivery and was dismissed cheaply.
Colin Munro and Ross Taylor had the job to stabilise the innings and get the scoreboard ticking. However, Taylor slowed the pace of the game, which forced Munro to go big. He finally gave away his wicket after managing 23 runs and Taylor followed him after two overs.
Grant Elliott played a key role down the order as his 27 off 20 balls helped New Zealand reach a total of 142 runs. New Zealand lost wickets at regular intervals and credit needs to be given to Australian bowlers for making a comeback after the powerplay.
In reply, Australia also had a good start in their run chase. Openers Usman Khawaja was off to a flyer and was well supported by Shane Watson, who was then dismissed for 13 runs. He was replaced by Steven Smith, who feel cheaply, being stumped off Ish Sodhi's bowling.
Khawaja, who was in fine form was unlucky and got run out in the 10th over. He managed 38 off 27 deliveries. Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh were given the responsibility to help Australia clear the finish line.
Maxwell impressed with the ball and field as he picked up two wickets, two catches and was involved in a run out. He showed his class with the bat as well, scoring 22 off 23 deliveries helping Australia stay alive in the match.
It was a strange decision from Australia to promote Agar ahead of Faulkner as they wanted 42 runs off the last four overs. However, he showed why he was promoted up the order with a six off the fourth ball he faced.
The 18th over from Ish Sodhi, where he conceded just five runs saw Australia come under pressure, with 22 required off the last 12 balls. Marsh was finally dismissed for 24, which then allowed Faulkner to walk onto the pitch, with 10 deliveries left in the innings.
Two wickets for McClenaghan in the penultimate over changed the course of the game as he ended up conceding only three runs, resulting in Australia needing 19 to win their first match of the tournament. Faulkner's dismissal off the first ball of the final over saw the end of Australia's innings as they fell short by eight runs, scoring 134 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs.