Kiwis down the Aussies in a World Cup thriller
NEW Zealand held off a late surge from Australia's bowlers to secure a remarkable victory in Auckland yesterday.
Much had been expected of the match between two of the tournament favourites, and the punters were not disappointed.
They were treated to one of the greatest World Cup matches in history, despite the fact it lasted only 55.3 overs.
The Kiwis made light work of the Australians to dismiss them for just 151 in 32.2 overs after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat.
Australian captain Michael Clarke, who managed only 12 in his first international match since last December, was critical of his side's batting efforts.
"Our batting was horrendous, to put it politely, and Mitchell Starc was a genius," he said.
"Both teams would probably say we didn't bat as well as we'd have liked."
The Black Caps would have fancied their chances but Australia dug in tremendously to go agonisingly close to clinching what seemed an unlikely victory.
Australia's Mitchell Starc was outstanding and finished with the figures of 6-28 before Kiwi Kane Williamson (45) steadied the ship to get his team home.
The Aussie middle order was annihilated by fast bowler Trent Boult, who took 5-27, with those five wickets coming in three overs for the cost of one run.
NZ started its chase as you would expect, fast, with Brendan McCallum racing past 50 in 21 balls.
McCallum fell but the Black Caps fought on before Starc injected himself magnificently to have the home side slightly wobbling at 5-131.
With just 21 runs required for victory, NZ would have been confident until Starc added to his tally by dismissing Luke Ronchi for six, before Dan Vettori fell to a Pat Cummins full toss for two.
Starc then bowled Adam Milne (0) and Tim Southee (0) in successive balls to give Australia hope with NZ nine down and requiring six runs.
A Williamson straight drive for six off Pat Cummins decided the issue.
Clarke defended his decision to give Starc a break late in the match.
"It is pretty tough to bowl a 10-over spell," the skipper said. "It was more to give him two overs off.
"He was bowling beautifully.
"I thought we could give him a break before going through the tail, which he just about did.
"I think credit needs to go to the New Zealand bowlers, who swung the ball nicely and bowled good areas.
"Our shot selection was poor."
(T Boult 5/27)
NEW ZEALAND 9-152
(M Starc 6/28)