Daniel Sams was everywhere in Australia’s narrow T20 loss to New Zealand, opening and closing the bowling, making a run out and posting a quickfire 41.
Australia are 2-0 down in their T20 series with New Zealand but believe the strength of their comeback in Dunedin will give them much-needed momentum for Game 3 in Wellington.
The tourists looked down and out in their clash at the University of Otago Oval, falling to 6-113 and needing more than two a ball from the final seven overs.
Still, the heroics of Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams pushed Australia to the verge of victory, the pair put on a world record T20 seventh-wicket stand of 92.
Stoinis made 78 off 37 and Sams put on 41 from just 15 before both holed out in the final over when Australia needed 15 to win.
Sams almost blew a gasket after he found a fielder and not the fence from the first ball of Jimmy Neesham’s final over.
“You’re never really expecting a thigh-high full toss,” he said.
“It’s one of those ones where you either shank it or you get it and it goes miles.”
Back in the changerooms, the 28-year-old said there was “no chance” he’d be losing sleep from the mistake after a fine personal day.
In just his fourth outing for Australia, Sams opened the bowling and was thrown the ball for the last over, when he produced a fine run out of Tim Southee amid the Kiwi onslaught.
He was the most expensive of the Aussie bowlers with 1-46, but only Mitchell Santner’s 4-31 stood out from any of the bowlers on an occasion tailor-made for the big hitters.
Sams said he was “stoked” with his day out.
“The feeling hasn’t changed ..you wake up in the morning and it’s like ‘you’re playing for Australia’. It doesn’t get any higher than that,” he said.
“It was awesome and obviously good to be able to perform with bat and ball for Australia.”
While the tourists find themselves in a must-win scenario, two down with three to play, Sams says the impressive chase had wrested back momentum.
Australia weren’t at the races in a 53-run loss in Christchurch but Sams said he could feel a shift in the series coming.
“Obviously we are 2-0 down. But in that eight to 10 over period we saw the pressure switch and go back on to the Kiwi guys,” he said.
“For this series so far, most of it has been in our change room and we’ve had to try and perform under that pressure.
“We were able to build some momentum and switch that over to them.
“We saw some of our opportunities that we can delve into later on in the series.”
Game 3 is on March 3, before matches in Auckland on March 5 and Tauranga on March 7 close out the series.