Australia stun Kiwis in record T20 chase

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Australia’s remarkable transformation as a Twenty20 unit continued last night as they completed a jaw-dropping record chase of 244 in New Zealand with seven balls to spare.

    The Aussies entered this tri-series as the world’s number seven ranked Twenty20 team yet now, after four commanding wins in as many matches, are on the verge of grabbing the number one ranking.

    By picking something close to their strongest line-up, and favouring T20 specialists, Australia have looked like an entirely different team to the one which consistently disappointed in T20s for the best part of a decade.

    Granted, four matches in a single tri-series is a small sample size, but it’s not just been the results rather the way Australia have achieved them that should hearten fans.

    They have not relied heavily either on their batting or on their bowling. Instead it has been a balanced effort from Australia, who have produced two fantastic bowling performances and two great batting displays.

    They started the series by limiting New Zealand to just 9-117, thanks to a brilliant collective bowling effort, and were similarly-impressive in containing a power-packed England line-up to only 7-137 last week.

    Australia ran down that latter total in a canter, finishing with seven wickets in hand and a whopping 33 balls to spare. Yet that batting display paled in comparison to what Australia produced at Eden Park yesterday.

    Ashton Agar apart, Australia’s bowlers were horrendous as they allowed New Zealand to charge to a monstrous total of 6-243 batting first. That required Australia to execute the highest run chase in Twenty20 cricket history which, even on a ground as small as Eden Park, is still a mammoth task.

    David Warner

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Not only did Australia achieve that, but they did so with ease. If they’d been allowed to bat out their innings, Australia may well have given 270 a nudge. Just stop and consider that for a moment.

    Unlike their five-wicket win over England in Hobart, where Glenn Maxwell single-handedly won the match with a blazing ton, Australia’s breathtaking innings yesterday was a group effort.

    Openers David Warner (59 from 24 balls) and D’Arcy Short (76 from 44 balls) set the perfect platform with a scorching stand of 121 from 8.3 overs. Even then, Australia still needed to make another 123 runs at 10.7 runs per over.

    When Chris Lynn was out for 18 from 13 balls, that equation was 101 from 53 balls which, again, is a stiff challenge. Then Short and Maxwell (31 from 14 balls) blasted a 56-run stand from just 25 balls, effectively killing off the contest.

    From there Australia never looked like losing. Finch made sure it wasn’t even close by caning 36 from just 14 balls, including a thunderous six to win the match.

    That was the former opener’s second consecutive belligerent cameo, following on from his 20no from five balls against England. Finch has adapted seamlessly to his new role in the middle order, making 56 from just 19 balls this series without being dismissed.

    His move down the order has created an opportunity for Short, the Big Bash League player of the tournament, who debuted in this series. The 27-year-old has made a sparkling start to his international career, cracking 146 runs at 48, with a strike rate of 144.

    In that short amount of time Short has managed to underline his versatility. Yesterday he was brutal, hammering 50 runs in boundaries. At Melbourne we saw a different side to Short as he played a more cautious knock which allowed the likes of Maxwell, Finch and Lynn to explode.

    Australia’s Twenty20batting line-up is perfectly balanced at present. It looks capable of either playing sensibly or creating catastrophic carnage. Only time will tell whether this is a major turning point for Australia in T20Is or simply a purple patch.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (65)

    • Roar Rookie

      February 17th 2018 @ 7:14am
      DJ DJ said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Short should make the conversion to one dayers easily. He is superb – compact, flexible in his approach. Good defence. Best left handed Ball striker since gilly.

      • February 17th 2018 @ 7:47am
        Jameswm said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

        Or since Warner.

        • February 17th 2018 @ 4:53pm
          qwetzen said | February 17th 2018 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

          Warner is also the best Root striker…

      • February 17th 2018 @ 8:11am
        Ouch said | February 17th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        This batting unit should make up the majority of the ODI side.

        • Roar Guru

          February 17th 2018 @ 9:09am
          Matt H said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          I’d say Smith comes in as you need some glue, but at the moment I have no idea who he would replace. And there can really only be room for one of Stoinis and Marsh, and again I have no idea who.

          • Roar Rookie

            February 17th 2018 @ 9:17am
            Matthew Pearce said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

            Why does Smith need to? Finch, deliberately or not, performed that role much better through the ODIs, barring his failures to cash in when he needed to in the first two matches. Smith probably doesn’t have a place in the limited overs sides full stop.

            Marsh is a genuine all-rounder. Stoinis is a batsman who can roll the arm over. Simply depends on what you think is more valuable.

            • February 17th 2018 @ 11:00am
              Fergus said | February 17th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              Australia just lost an odi series 4-1 to England while smith and warner where in a form slump. They have a record of 11-2 since the pakistan odi series which is the last time smith made any runs. Coincidence i think not.

              • February 17th 2018 @ 11:43am
                Rob said | February 17th 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

                The dependance on Smith to score the bulk of the runs is a big problem. I know T20 is very hit and miss, but the thing about the current team is everyone is contributing. Smith is a great bat and leads from the front, but I’m interested to know why others are struggling to do well under his leadership. Are they feeling under pressure and being critiqued in away that makes them feel unworthy of their position? Do they feel they have to do what Steven Smith wants as the bowler delivers the ball? When you are being looked down on and start questioning yourself it can be very detrimental to your confidence. A confident batsmen is more likely to score runs and play well. The selectors are also to blame for this. Seriously tailenders that believe they can bat are a hell of a lot better than ones that constantly get told to do this a that because they can’t.

              • February 17th 2018 @ 1:54pm
                Flemo said | February 17th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

                You can never change a winning combination however it’s great to know that we have smith and Khawaja waiting in the reserves should there be injury or losses as both are very capable t20
                Players in their own right

      • February 17th 2018 @ 1:28pm
        13th Man said | February 17th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Yeah I’d agree. Whilst I like Finch in the middle order for T20s I think he’s great up the top in ODI. The only question I have is whether you go for the power of Lynn or Smith and also whether you go with M Marsh or Stains, probably Stoinis for mine.
        So a ODI side of
        Warner (c)

        • February 17th 2018 @ 3:38pm
          jameswm said | February 17th 2018 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          I think if Finch opens and bats the way he has been, you need hitters at 2 and 3. Warner can perform that role, but he’s batting the same as Finch. I’m happy for Finch to open and Warner to tee off and if FInch goes early, Warner digs in and no.3 (Stoinis, Maxwell or Short) tees off.

          There’s an argument for Maxwell at 6/7 to finish, so one of the other two. Smith and MMarsh at 4-5, then Maxi and Carey at 6-7, plus Agar and 3 quicks. And only two of the big guys plus Tye, or a 2nd spinner depending on the deck. OUr backups are mainly medium pacers (plus Maxwell).

          I see no room for Head.

        • February 17th 2018 @ 4:11pm
          Mitch said | February 17th 2018 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

          No keep it the way it is ffs finch bats lower down the order in IPL and for his state. It allows other players to play their natural role and just look how good finch has been since he has gone down.

    • February 17th 2018 @ 7:46am
      Jameswm said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      Has it really taken us this long to work out we need to pick specialists? Lynn, Maxi, Short etc – these guys are no brainers.

      And Agar has to push ahead of Zampa in the ODI team now

      • February 17th 2018 @ 8:00am
        marfu said | February 17th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        Jameswm – Agree. Our selectors have been very slow learners.

      • Roar Guru

        February 17th 2018 @ 9:12am
        Matt H said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Yep they have given Zampa a long run, but Agar is the better option as a bowler, and that doesn’t even factor in his superior batting.

        • February 17th 2018 @ 9:54am
          Rob said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          And fielding.

      • February 17th 2018 @ 4:51pm
        qwetzen said | February 17th 2018 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

        I’m a tad concerned about Lynn now. Everyone, even the Nein comms, is aware of his two weaknesses now. Slow bowlers pitched up and into leg, and the quicks a touch short and at the cods.

    • February 17th 2018 @ 8:34am
      BA Sports said | February 17th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      I can’t believe how much credit you have given the batsmen. That was backyard cricket – but with a better pitch.

      • Roar Guru

        February 17th 2018 @ 9:10am
        Matt H said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        True, but this venue surprisingly had previously not been a particularly high scoring venue for T20. Maybe the pitch usually offer more for bowlers.

        • February 17th 2018 @ 2:03pm
          Flemo said | February 17th 2018 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

          Fans are short sighted, I get that warner should be captain for T20 only but how can you not have champion batsman like smith and Khawaja in there, at least include them as reserve batsman

      • February 17th 2018 @ 6:11pm
        ozinsa said | February 17th 2018 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

        Why then haven’t there been these sort of scores all the time? It presents its own challenges with swing and seam. I think the pitch was flat, the ball didn’t swing much and the bowlers failed to find a solution for some super aggressive batting. No need to downplay the batting efforts of both teams though. It was sensational

    • February 17th 2018 @ 9:14am
      McNaulty said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      it was like a game of AFLX

      • February 17th 2018 @ 1:22pm
        Joe said | February 17th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        Nothing’s that bad

    • February 17th 2018 @ 9:25am
      Onside said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Any idea why the Australian strip was predominantly black.

      From behind, it was not easy to differentiate between teams.

      When Australia was batting, it was black bowling to black.

      • February 17th 2018 @ 2:18pm
        Basil said | February 17th 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

        Have you noticed how both teams wear white in Test cricket?

    • February 17th 2018 @ 9:34am
      marfu said | February 17th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      Onside – It would probably be sponsor related at a guess. I was disappointed to barely be able to identify the Austalian team from a distance when they were warming up before the first Test at the Gabba as I think they were dressed in blue

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