Australia have kept their T20I series hopes alive after they defeated New Zealand in the third T20I of the five-match series by 64 runs at Sky Stadium in Wellington.
Amid the lockdown restrictions, both the teams faced each other in an empty stadium where Australian skipper Aaron Finch roared back into form with an excellent 69 off 44 deliveries. He luckily survived the first-ball lbw shout as the white leather was hitting the stumps but the on-field umpire gave him not out. After that, Finch continued and made sure he put his side on top in the Wednesday night fixture.
The Aussie skipper formed a crucial partnership of 83 runs for the second wicket with Josh Philippe (43 off 27). Despite struggling with the willow from the past few games, Finch showed supreme confidence as he reached his half-century with a splendid switch-hit six off Ish Sodhi.
After the Finch magic, it was the turn of Glenn Maxwell, who took fans on a roller-coaster ride, scoring 70 from 31 balls, with the help of eight fours and five sixes. Maxwell clubbed 28 off James Neesham’s last over as Australia posted a massive total of 208/4 in their allotted 20 overs.
In response, the hosts struggled right from the beginning, especially against Aussie quick Riley Meredith, who claimed 2/24 in his debut game.
The Tasmanian pacer first sent Black Caps opener Tim Seifert (4) back into the dugout with a speedy delivery that clicked over 150 kmph. After Seifert, it was the turn of NZ skipper Kane Williamson who was trapped in front for nine runs only.
Martin Guptill and Devon Conway did contribute with vital knocks, but the spin bowling of Ashton Agar completely destroyed the hosts. Agar picked up three wickets in the 13th over and went on to bag three more to finish with his career-best figure of 6/30.
Best bowling figures in T20 internationals:
- Deepak Chahar (IND) – 6/7 vs BAN, 2019
- Ajantha Mendis (SL) – 6/8 vs ZIM, 2012
- Ajantha Mendis (SL) – 6/16 vs AUS, 2011
- Yuzvendra Chahal (IND) – 6/25 vs ENG, 2017
- Ashton Agar (AUS) – 6/30 vs NZ, 2021*
Here is how Twitter reacted:
It's all on for Friday! Australia takes game 3 of the @kfcnz T20 Series by 64 runs thanks to Finch and Maxwell half centuries and career best figures of 6-30 for Ashton Agar 🏏. #NZvAUS pic.twitter.com/seGTXlSA6X
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 3, 2021
Glenn Maxwell leaves his mark pic.twitter.com/cNMjY8n352
— Peter Lalor (@plalor) March 3, 2021
The Big Show at Wellington 🔥
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) March 3, 2021
First 11 balls: 10 runs 🙁
Next 20 balls: 60 runs 😱
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) March 3, 2021
Extraordinary shot by Aaron Finch to bring up his 50. Switch hit, slog sweep for six. #NZvAUS
— Andrew Wu (@wutube) March 3, 2021
Aaron Finch needs to buy Chris Gaffaney a beer. That decision could save his international T20 career. #NZvAUS
— Jacob Landsmeer (@jlandsme_93) March 3, 2021
Fifty runs to Aaron Finch and all of them in the same innings. #NZvAus
— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) March 3, 2021
Finch, Maxwell & Agar in the first two T20s:
40 runs, 0 wickets
Finch, Maxwell & Agar today:
139 runs, 6 wickets#NZvAUS
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) March 3, 2021
It says a lot about Aaron Finch that so many people are willing him to get his mojo back. #NZvAUS
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) March 3, 2021
Ashton Agar becomes the fourth person to take six wickets in a single T20I game.
Ajantha Mendis – 6/16 (v AUS, 2011)
Ajantha Mendis – 6/8 (v ZIM, 2012)
Yuzvendra Chahal – 6/25 (v ENG, 2017)
Deepak Chahar – 6/7 (v BAN, 2019)
Ashton Agar – 6/30 (v NZ, Today)#NZvAUS
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) March 3, 2021
Ashton Agar 6 wicket haul! Four overs giving away just 30 runs. The best by an Aussie in T20 cricket. Amazing! 😍🔥 #NZvAUS
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) March 3, 2021
Huge win by Australia, well played.
Apart from NZ being a bowler short tonight, Seifert not looking an opening batsman in this series. Might need to consider Conway opening and Seifert moving down.
Of less importance, why is Southee batting at 8?
— Andrew (@shortflyslip) March 3, 2021
Martin Guptill is the only fielder with 50+ catches in Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
Tests – 50 catches
ODIs – 91 catches
T20Is – 52* catches
The only two wickets so far in this match are catches by Guptill.#NZvAUS
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) March 3, 2021
Australia win the third #NZvAUS T20I by 64 runs!
Ashton Agar's 6/30 are the best figures by an Australian in men's T20Is as New Zealand were bowled out for 144.
— ICC (@ICC) March 3, 2021
Maxwell hits 28 runs off Neesham's over. 25-ball fifty for Maxwell
Can be a dangerous T20 batsman.
— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) March 3, 2021