A record seventh-wicket partnership was not enough for Australia as Martin Guptill’s 97 and James Neesham’s splendid all-round performance helped New Zealand win the second T20I by four runs at University Oval in Dunedin on Thursday.
Chasing a mammoth target of 220, the visitors never looked like they were in the game as they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. Black Caps spinner Mitchell Santner ran through Australia’s batting unit and picked up four wickets.
When the left-armer dismissed Mitchell Marsh for a duck, Australia were struggling at 113/6, and it looked like the hosts would easily win the game. However, a twist in the tale was waiting to greet the Kane Williamson-led side. Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams did the impossible by forming an unbelievable 92-run stand – Australia’s highest seventh-wicket partnership.
With 15 needed to win the match for the tourists, Williamson gave the last over to Neesham. The Kiwi all-rounder, who impressed with the bat, carried the same momentum with the ball and delivered one of the most breath-taking overs. He conceded only 10 runs, with four dot balls, including two wickets of Sams (41 off 15) and Stoinis (78 off 37) to take his side over the finish line.
Earlier, Neesham contributed with 16-ball 45 runs to take his team to 219/7 in their allotted 20 overs. Guptill returned to his form and scored a brilliant 97 from 50 deliveries. Captain Williamson smashed 53 off 35 balls.
Most runs in a T20I game in New Zealand (total of both teams):
- 488 – NZ v AUS Auckland 2018
- 434 – NZ v AUS Dunedin 2021*
- 428 – NZ v AUS Christchurch 2010
- 420 – NZ v IND Hamilton 2019
- 407 – NZ v IND Auckland 2020
Most sixes in a T20I match:
- 32 – West Indies vs India, Lauderhill, 2016
- 32 – New Zealand vs Australia, Auckland, 2018
- 31 – India vs Sri Lanka, Indore, 2017
- 31 – New Zealand vs Australia, Dunedin, 2021*
Here is how Twitter reacted:
WHAT A GAME OF CRICKET. @JimmyNeesh with 2 wickets in the 20th over to defend the total and maintain the team's unbeaten record at University of Otago Oval. Serious striking from Marcus Stoinis for Australia. #NZvAUS pic.twitter.com/L357Cw9t53
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 25, 2021
What a match! NZ wins by four runs. But considering Aus was 113-6 chasing NZ’s 219 it was a ripper fight back. Exciting cricket. Sams and Stoinis made it very interesting. A very commendable 78 by the hulk. The T20 cricket you live for! #NZvAUS
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) February 25, 2021
The old Thursday arvo T20 ✅ #NZvAUS
— Andrew McCormack (@_AMcCormack7) February 25, 2021
“Some positives”, as they say, for Aus in this second match. Came back several times when they could easily have folded under scoreboard pressure, even with those small boundaries. #NZvAUS
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) February 25, 2021
CRAAAACKING GAME #NZvAUS
— Ben McKay (@benmackey) February 25, 2021
Kyle Jamieson goes for 56 off 4 overs. Kohli has been trying to call Hesson but it says 'the number is not reachable'. #NZvAUS
— Silly Point (@FarziCricketer) February 25, 2021
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) February 25, 2021
Highest seventh-wicket partnerships in T20 internationals:
92 – Stoinis/Sams vs NZ, 2021
91 – Collingwood/Yardy v WI, 2007
82 – Hossain/Hossain v ZIM, 2019
77 – Bau/Vanua v KEN, 2019#NZvAUS
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) February 25, 2021
Marcus Stoinis is very good at almost beating New Zealand.
— Michael Wagener (@Mykuhl) February 25, 2021
Marcus Stoinis yet to score a 50+ in an Australia win – all eight scores ending in defeats.
But geez… what an innings that was. Nearly pulled off a miracle.#NZvAUS
— Deepu Narayanan (@deeputalks) February 25, 2021
Jimmy Neesham defended 15 runs in the final over – W,0,0,6,W,4 and earlier he scored unbeaten 45 runs from 16 balls helped New Zealand to beat Australia by 4 runs and take 2-0 in the five-match T20 series.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) February 25, 2021
Jimmy Neesham had ice in his veins in that final over, what was going through his mind?
— Spark Sport (@sparknzsport) February 25, 2021
Jimmy Neesham showing his worth to the world after getting a place in Mumbai Indians 🔥🔥
— A S H W I K K 🇮🇳 (@ImAsh045) February 25, 2021
A 16-ball 45 for Jimmy Neesham today, including shots like this one. He averages 68 from his last five T20I innings 🔥
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) February 25, 2021