Dharamsala: New Zealand produced yet another sublime bowling performance to pull off a second successive giant-slaying act, beating ODI world champions Australia by 8 runs in a dramatic ICC World Twenty20 clash here today.
New Zealand bowled with a lot of heart to stop Australia at 134 for nine after making 142 for eight at the scenic HPCA Stadium. The highlight of the Kiwi innings was a 27-ball 39 by opener Martin Guptill. The Black Caps, who outplayed India in their first match, then produced another clinical bowling performance to inch towards semifinals.
Australia, playing their first game of the tournament, were found wanting at crucial junctures of the game with none of their big guns in batting delivering the goods today. They looked comfortable in the chase till the time an in -form Usman Khawaja (38) and Shane Watson (13) were at the crease. The duo took the team to 42 for no loss in five overs. However, there was a twist in the tale in store with Australia losing four quick wickets to be under pressure at 66 for four.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who had foxed the highly rated Indian batting line up in Nagpur, brought his team back into the contest by having the dangerous David Warner caught at deep midwicket (6) and Steven Smith (6) stumped.
Australia bat deep and the onus was on Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc to see off the chase. They added 36 runs for the fifth wicket before Maxwell mistimed one to be holed at deep extra cover. It was anyone’s game from here on with Australia needing 43 off the last 29 balls, a gettable target even though half their side had been sent back to the dugout. The game tilted in Australia’s favour when Marsh and Ashton Agar hit a six each off Santner to release the pressure.