Zampa, fast bowlers beat New Zealand to clinch T20 series

Earlier, an easy inning from Pat Cummins started Australia’s comeback


Australia 174 (Head 45, Ferguson 4-12, Sears 2-29) beat New Zealand 102 (Phillips 42, Zampa 4-34, Ellis 2-16) by 72 runs

Josh Hazlewood bowled brilliantly with the new ball before legspinner Adam Zampa returned to form as Australia dismantled New Zealand’s shorthanded batting line-up to win the T20I series in Auckland.

While their thrilling win in the first game was highlighted by a spectacular chase, Australia’s disciplined bowling attack shone here and Hazlewood’s brilliant opening spell set the tone. Zampa then took charge of the team by taking four wickets and Australia won the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy with a spectacular victory with one match remaining.

It was a brilliant comeback for Australia, who were in a difficult position at 138 for 7 after being sent in at Eden Park.

New Zealand’s troubles increased further when wicketkeeper-batsman Devon Conway injured his left thumb early in the match and was unable to bat. X-rays revealed he had a fracture, but he will be reviewed further.

The series finale will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

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Hazlewood performed brilliantly early on, Zampa made a comeback

It looked like Australia were defending a lowly score, but Hazlewood was on the money with trademark precise line-and-length bowling. After being hit for a six by Finn Allen off his third ball, Hazlewood took revenge when Allen unfortunately played out.

Hazlewood enjoyed the bounce of the surface and took care of a nervous New Zealand top order with Maiden bowling his first three overs. Surprisingly he bowled 15 dots in his first 18 balls. It was a significant hit-out for Hazlewood, who will not be playing in the IPL due to the birth of his first child.

With Mitchell Starc rested, Nathan Ellis has a chance as he eyes a place in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad. He bowled his usual offcutters and brilliant yorkers, taking 2 wickets for 16 runs in three overs.

Zampa closed the door for New Zealand by taking the wickets of Josh Clarkson and Adam Milne in consecutive balls. It was a relief for Zampa, who had been out for 107 in his previous two T20 matches.

Australia’s strong performance on the field was highlighted by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade running to fine leg and completing an excellent diving catch to dismiss opener Will Young.

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New Zealand is struggling without Conway

Without opener Conway, who returned to form with a half-century in the first game, New Zealand’s batting line-up was out of sync as they crashed in the powerplay.

Captain Mitchell Santner promoted himself to No. 3, but it backfired and his hopes rested on Clarkson and Glenn Phillips.

Clarkson could not get on in his first T20 innings and was bowled by Zampa, who destroyed New Zealand’s middle order, including Phillips, for 42.

Smith failed to impress, Australia attacked strongly

After being ignored in the opening match of the series, it seems that Steven Smith is not in Australia’s first-choice XI for the T20 World Cup. But with his campaign being played on slow and turning surfaces in the Caribbean, Smith will almost certainly make the team.

With Australia testing their line-up, Smith was given a chance at the top of the order while David Warner was rested.

After not scoring runs on his first two balls against Milne, who bowled at over 140 kmph, Smith decided to take a break. He cut it to backward point and then audaciously hit a six over fine leg, reminiscent of the strokes he hit in the closing moments of the thrilling Gabba Test against West Indies.

Smith’s most inventive stroke was to scoop it to wide fine leg after shuffling well outside off stump. But he fell victim to a poor inswinger from Lockie Ferguson during the review in the next over, ending his brief innings of 11 runs from 7 balls.

After this, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh made a quick half-century partnership and tried to send almost every ball across the boundary line. Australia were eyeing a huge score after scoring 74 runs in the powerplay, but Head’s dismissal after scoring 45 runs in 22 balls left them at 6 for 53 amid several miss-hits.

Tim David, Australia’s hero in the death overs in the first game, was out at half-time and was clearly not comfortable coming to the crease earlier than expected.

David scored just 17 runs from 19 balls, but Pat Cummins’ final innings marked the beginning of Australia’s comeback.

Bolt given early punishment, Ferguson and Sears banned for Australia

Veteran fast bowler Trent Boult returned to international cricket for the first time since the ODI World Cup last year. But he has been playing a lot of T20 franchise cricket and hopes New Zealand will take a boost after their attack was badly beaten in the first game.

Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne are all smiles after bowling out Australia for 174
Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne are all smiles after bowling out Australia for 174 runs. AFP/Getty Images
However, Boult had a very poor first over as he conceded 20 runs, which unfortunately included two sixes off the outside edge of the head. Things didn’t improve much for Boult, who took 0 for 49 in four overs.

But Boult played his part by taking difficult catches at long-on to dismiss Marsh and Glenn Maxwell. New Zealand bounced back from Ferguson’s stellar performance in the first game, taking 4 for 12, the best T20I figures for a New Zealand bowler against Australia.

He bowled mostly tight lengths to contain Australia’s power-hitters, with his bowling effort consisting of 13 dot balls.

Ferguson was well supported by fellow fast bowler Ben Sears, who proved an inspired selection by taking 2 for 29 from four overs. He brilliantly mixed his pace with a number of slower balls, frustrating Australia’s batsmen in the middle overs.

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