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01 March 201523:13

New Zealand's win over Australia: The Key Moments

Australia's lowest total batting first in World Cups, Boult's career-best, and more

New Zealand's win over Australia: The Key Moments - Cricket News
It was a match that had been hyped up since the ICC Cricket World Cup draw was announced in July 2013.

Host versus host, at the scene of the classic match between the pair 23 years earlier.

The anticipation only became greater when New Zealand entered the tournament in red-hot form and secured big wins over Sri Lanka, Scotland and England in its first three matches.

When Australia was skittled for 151, it seemed the blockbuster was set to turn into a fizzer.

That scenario became even more likely when Brendon McCullum did what Brendon McCullum does best and smashed 50 off 21 balls.
Even when the jitters set in for New Zealand and it was reduced to 131-4 needing 21 runs for victory, the sense was it would still cruise home.

But a fiery spell from Mitch Starc changed everything, New Zealand edged home with one wicket to spare courtesy of Kane Williamson’s typically calm batting, and the match became an instant World Cup classic.

Here are moments that defined this epic encounter:

Finch and Warner go the tonk

There had been a lot of talk before the match about the dimensions of Eden Park and the huge scores that would be required, while both teams dedicated plenty of training time to practising their shots for six.

Aaron Finch and David Warner certainly started with that mindset, plundering 15 runs off the first over and racing to 48-1 off the first five overs.

McCullum’s genius bowling change

In an effort to curb the rapid rate at which Australia’s runs were flowing off the bowling of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum made a brave – but ultimately canny – decision to bring on spinner Daniel Vettori after just six overs.

It brought an immediate change. Vettori’s first 23 balls went for 14 runs, the scoring also slowed at the opposite end, and frustration started to set in for Warner and Shane Watson.

Watson’s dismissal

It was the final ball of Vettori’s fourth over. McCullum’s clever bowling change had the intended effect of slowing Australia’s scoring, but there were questions about how McCullum would negotiate the middle of the innings given Vettori’s services had been called upon so early.

As it was, the point was moot. Watson looked to smash a short delivery from the spinner but instead found Southee at deep mid-wicket.
Warner’s wicket followed next ball and suddenly Australia was in trouble.

Boult hits back

Again, McCullum’s attacking captaincy provided the goods. Australia were treading water after losing the wickets of Watson and Warner and the situation only became more dire in the 17th over when Vettori claimed his second scalp – the valuable wicket of in-form Steve Smith.

Suddenly Australia was 96-4 and smelling blood, McCullum immediately brought Boult back on.

His first delivery was a dot ball, then Maxwell chopped the next on to the stumps.

Another dot, a wide, and Mitch March was gone, a chopped on shot also bringing about his undoing.

Brad Haddin joined skipper Michael Clarke at the crease but Boult’s next over saw Clarke caught at cover and Australia 194-7.

Not all hope was lost for Australia – Mitchell Johnson is more than handy with a cricket bat – but when his next over was a double-wicket maiden, Australia was 106-9.

After the match McCullum said he backed Boult and Southee to get the job done.

“I wouldn't swap Boult and Southee for anyone else. The arm will be alright."

Johnson’s first over

Defending a small total, Australia needed early wickets and every run had to be jealously guarded.

Needless to say, the roar at Eden Park was immense when Johnson’s first ball went for four, was signalled a no ball, and the subsequent free hit smashed for six by Martin Guptill.

Memories of New Zealand’s rapid-fire chase against England one week earlier came to mind – a point only emphasised when McCullum and Guptill helped the Black Caps reach 39-0 after three overs.

McCullum cops a blow

New Zealand supporters hearts leapt to their throats when McCullum copped a heavy blow on the arm from a 147kph Mitchell Johnson delivery in the fourth over.

The same bowler broke the arm of South Africa’s Ryan McLaren last year and a tournament-ending injury to McCullum would be a heavy blow to the Black Caps’ World Cup hopes.

But in typical McCullum fashion, the captain remained Stoic, doing his best not to show signs of pain as his arm swelled. A bandage and arm guard were applied and he not only returned to the crease, but smashed a 21-ball fifty while he was at it.

Afterwards, McCullum said, “The arm will be alright."

Starc strikes

When New Zealand was 130-4, victory seemed imminent despite the Black Caps having likely lost more wickets than they had hoped.
Mitchell Johnson had been hit for 52 from four overs and Michael Clarke was left pondering what, if anything, could be done to at least salvage a less-severe loss.

Maxwell came on and immediately picked up a wicket. Then Mitch Starc produced one of the finest spells of one-day bowling seen this World Cup, removing Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Adam Milne and Tim Southee.

An easy victory became a desperate fight for survival for New Zealand in the space of three overs.

Starc took 3-4 in three overs to finish with 6-28 for the match.

After the match, Clarke described Starc as “a genius”.

“That individual performance was as good as you'll see in any form of the game,” he said.

Williamson and Boult see it home

When Boult came to the crease, New Zealand was nine wickets down and Starc was on a hat-trick.

Boult somehow survived the final two balls of Starc’s over. New Zealand still needed six runs and Australia could sense the unlikeliest of victories, but those hopes were doused the first ball of the next over when Williamson coolly launched a Pat Cummins ball over the fence.
The roar of 40,000 people that accompanied the six was immense.

“It was nice to get the ball in that area and connect and head up for six,” Williamson said after the match.

“(The atmosphere) was really incredible to be honest. To have a crowd right behind us was a team it was something really special.”


New Zealand has four wins from four matches and looks certain to finish on top of Pool A. The Black Caps’ next hit out is against Afghanistan in Napier next Sunday.

Meanwhile, Australia needs to beat Afghanistan in Perth on Wednesday and Sri Lanka in Sydney on Sunday to ensure it can finish in second spot and avoid a match-up against South Africa or India in the quarter finals.