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Australia look close to finalising their starting side for the World Cup finals after flogging New Zealand by 86 runs in their group match at Lord’s.
Mitchell Starc has taken his second five-wicket haul of the World Cup after Usman Khawaja saved Australia with the bat in an 86-run flogging of New Zealand.
Khawaja hit 88 to help Australia recover from 5-93 and post 9-243, before Starc took 5-26 with the ball to role the Black Caps for just 157 inside 44 overs at Lord’s on Sunday.
Starc now has 24 wickets for the tournament at 15.54, seven scalps clear of his nearest rival in New Zealander Lockie Ferguson on 17.
After a stellar 2015 campaign, he has joined Glenn McGrath as the only bowler to take more than 20 wickets in two separate World Cups.
Australia’s best bowling attack for the finals is now clearly beginning to take shape with both Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Lyon standing tall.
Behrendorff again took the new ball and removed both New Zealand’s openers, going for just 2-31 from his nine overs.
Kept in the side after his five-wicket haul against England, he strangled Henry Nicholls down the legside and had Martin Guptill lbw.
Lyon also went for just 1-24 from his eight overs to cement his spot ahead of Adam Zampa, while Pat Cummins finished with 1-14 off six overs.
But it was Starc who started New Zealand’s collapse of 8-60, as captain Aaron Finch again turned to him when Australia needed a wicket in the middle.
Brought back to break the 55-run third-wicket stand between Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, he got Williamson caught behind for 40.
Cummins then removed the innings’ other rock, when Taylor skied one high in the air to wicketkeeper Alex Carey on 30.
Steve Smith also got his first international wicket since 2016, with Colin de Grandhomme caught at long on for a golden duck.
Smith was in the action again moments later, taking a one-handed superman-style flyer at short mid-wicket to remove Tom Latham off the bowling of Starc for 14.
The left-armer later returned to mop up the tail, leaving New Zealand’s semi-final spot in the balance ahead of next Wednesday’s final-round clash with England.
Khawaja had earlier steadied the ship with his 129-ball knock that included a crucial 107-run sixth-wicket stand with Carey (71 from 72).
The Black Caps were left to rue two missed opportunities to dismiss him early, including a low chance to Martin Guptill at second slip when he was on one.
Guptill did at least make amends when he latched onto a one-handed screamer to catch Smith at leg gully, after the right-hander middled a full-blooded pull shot from Ferguson.
Left-armer Trent Boult (4-51) also made history when he became the first New Zealander to take a World Cup hat-trick, removing Khawaja, Starc and Behrendorff in the last over of the innings.