Australia beat N Zealand by 4 wickets in 2nd ODI

WELLINGTON: Australia's Usman Khawaja bats in front of New Zealand's Luke Ronchi in their second One Day International cricket match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, yesterday. - AP
WELLINGTON: Australia’s Usman Khawaja bats in front of New Zealand’s Luke Ronchi in their second One Day International cricket match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, yesterday. – AP

WELLINGTON” David Warner stood firm amid a top-order collapse to make 98 and set Australia on course to a four- wicket win over New Zealand in the second one-day cricket international yesterday, leveling the three-match series at 1-1.

Warner left Australia in a winning position as it chased New Zealand’s 281-9 when he put on 122 for the first wicket with Usman Khawaja, who repaid his belated recall to one-day cricket with a classy half century. When Khawaja was out for 50, the Australia innings faltered and Warner saw four wickets fall for 22 runs, including captain Steve Smith (2) and George Bailey (0) to consecutive balls from Matt Henry.

Warner was out with Australia still 90 runs behind New Zealand but Mitch Marsh led Australia to 283-6 with 3.3 overs to spare, making an unbeaten 69 in a record 86-run stand for the seventh wicket with John Hastings (48 not out).

Australia might have feared it was a batsman short after allrounder James Faulkner, its regular closer, suffered a hamstring injury in the first match at Auckland – which New Zealand won by 159 runs – and was ruled out of the remainder of the series.
At six down when Marsh and Hastings came together, Australia was under severe pressure. But Marsh attacked from the outset, dashing to a half century from 43 balls, and Hastings took over Faulkner’s role and posted his highest-ever score in a one-day international. Their partnership was a record for the seventh wicket for Australia against New Zealand.

The match now heads to a decider in Hamilton on Monday. “I’m a bit happier but I still think we’ve got a lot of room for improvement,” Australia captain Steve Smith said. “But I thought the way we were able to scrape over the line there showed some great composure.”

New Zealand fell short of a fully competitive total after winning the toss and batting. After an explosive beginning from captain Brendon McCullum, who made 28 from 12 balls, New Zealand was tied down by accurate bowling from Hastings, Josh Hazlewood and legspinner Adam Zampa who claimed two key wickets in his one-day international debut.


Kane Williamson made 60 and Grant Elliott 32 in a 63-run partnership for the fourth wicket which sought to rebuild a stuttering New Zealand innings. But both struggled to score fluently – Williamson made his half century from 71 balls and Elliott labored for 47 balls for his runs – and both fell to Zampa who ended his debut match with 2-57.

“We were able to take plenty of wickets through the middle and that’s the easiest way to slow down the scoring as we know,” Smith said. “We missed a few opportunities and we’ve still got a lot of improving to do.”

New Zealand slumped to 205-7 with fewer than 10 overs remaining before the innings was revived by a 61-run eighth-wicket stand between Mitchell Santner and Adam Milne (36). Santner went on to make an unbeaten 45 and played an important role with the ball later when he took 3-47, with the wickets of Santner, Warner and Matt Wade (2).

Warner and Khawaja’s oustanding start for Australia seemed to put the result beyond doubt. Back to his best form, Warner made a half century from only 35 balls with four fours and four sixes and completed his 100 partnership with Khawaja in 12.2 overs.

Khawaja, who was playing his first ODI in three years after being continually overlooked by the Australia selectors, reached his 50 from 48 balls with seven boundaries.

New Zealand fought back strongly when it captured the wickets of Khawaja, Smith, Bailey, Glenn Maxwell and Matt Wade in quick succession but couldn’t claim the final wicket it needed to expose the Australia tail. “I thought 281 was slightly under-par,” McCullum said. “It probably summed up the game for
us. We were just okay.” – AP

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