David Marsh and Australia’s stunning last-ball victory leave New Zealand battered.

David Marsh and Australia’s stunning last-ball victory leave New Zealand battered.

In a thrilling series opener in Wellington, Australia’s captain Mitchell Marsh put on a strong all-around display, and Tim David batted brilliantly down the stretch to seal a last-ball victory over New Zealand.

Despite Marsh’s best efforts, Australia seemed like they were going to lose when they were chasing 216 after Devon Conway broke out of a slump with a half-century. However, David took control with 31 off 10 balls, interspersed with a boundary off Tim Southee through the leg-side to complete Australia’s incredible raid.

In the competition for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, which was traditionally reserved for the victor of the sides’ bilateral ODI series, Australia emerged victorious. The three-match series is essential preparation for both teams since the T20 World Cup is less than three months away.

After missing the West Indies series, Travis Head returned to the Australian batting order, leaving no room for Steven Smith. In T20Is, he opened with David Warner for the first time. However, none was able to profit from starts. Warner waved back at the fanatical audience that had booed him off the ground.

It fell to Marsh, who complied with a characteristically aggressive batting. He crushed everything in his hitting zone as he raced to his half-century off just 29 balls. However, Marsh was unsupported as Australia lost ground and required an almost unbelievable 32 runs off nine balls to win.

But David regained control by putting Adam Milne on a boundary, and he then hit back-to-back sixes to cut Australia’s aim down to 16 runs off the last over.

In the last over, Southee bowled effectively at first, delivering a few of yorkers, but David once more demonstrated his ability to finish strong, hitting a six over the leg-side off the full-tossed fourth delivery of the 20th over. His swipe through wide long on with two fielders converged two balls later went for four, capping an incredible chase that demonstrated their might. It also demonstrated the possibility that Smith won’t have enough room in the T20 World Cup.
It was only Milne and Lockie Ferguson’s tenth Twenty20 International match together.

At lightning speed, they threatened with a tremendous swing, with Ferguson hitting 150 kmph.

After a flier from Head, Milne took the much-needed maiden wicket, and Ferguson added another wicket to stop Australia’s momentum by getting through Glenn Maxwell.

Ferguson was outstanding all through, and in a terrific eighteenth over, he bowled precise yorkers under duress, seemingly putting New Zealand in the box seat. However, in the end, New Zealand lamented careless fielding, particularly Glenn Phillips’s failure to capitalize on a boundary opportunity when Marsh was on 36.

Australia displayed a full-strength assault as Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, who had both been on rest since the end of the Test summer, played their first Twenty20 international since the 2022 T20 World Cup.

On the first delivery of a superb opening over, Starc was spot on as he angled a ball beyond Finn Allen. After denying Allen any width to hit, he came back in the sixth over to pluck Allen.

Prior to being blasted for 16 runs in the penultimate over of the innings, Starc was the best bowler in the group. Until he was bowled out for fifteen runs in the final over, Cummins had likewise largely resisted the assault with his cunning variety of slower deliveries.

Legspinner Adam Zampa took another thrashing, going 0 for 42 from three overs in their most recent match against the West Indies, which was the worst figures ever recorded by an Australian bowler in Twenty20 Internationals. Australia became the first team in T20I cricket history to give up four consecutive 200-plus totals after carelessly giving up 15 extras.

Better news for Australia: Marsh finished with 1 for 21 off three deliveries by skillfully using slower deliveries to win the wicket of Conway. While Marcus Stoinis was out from the series, Marsh filled in for him here. He did not employ himself against the West Indies.
Conway was experiencing his first extended period of poor form in his career when he started the series.

Conway may have gotten out of it by thinking back to the last time he batted in a T20 match against Australia, when he made an undefeated 92 to start the 2022 T20 World Cup.

Conway and Allen struck a half-century in four overs, exactly like they had at the SCG, so it was deja vu all over again. Conway achieved his first international half-century since the ODI World Cup last year, enjoying a surface that was fast with a steady bounce. Throughout an innings that boosted his confidence, he consistently hit shorter pitches with outstanding back-foot play.

Conway combined with Rachin Ravindra after Allen went down shortly before the powerplay ended. Ravindra was slow to start and was first stopped by Cummins’ persistent line and length.

However, Ravindra soon settled into a rhythm, hitting Zampa three times for sixes in the fifteenth over.

With captain Kane Williamson out due to the birth of his third child, Ravindra seized his chance, smashing his second T20I half-century off just 29 balls. With the top-order batting and the finishing touches from Mark Chapman and Phillips, Josh Clarkson, a big-hitting rookie, was not needed.

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