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Bowlers script perfect farewell for McCullum

Comfortable 55-run win in series-decider against Australia helps New Zealand retain Chappell-Hadlee Trophy

Bowlers script perfect farewell for McCullum - Cricket News
New Zealand’s bowlers ensured they sent off Brendon McCullum with a 55-run win over Australia on Monday (February 8), and the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy firmly in his grasp.

McCullum, the New Zealand captain, walked out to a guard of honour and played a typically swashbuckling innings to make a 27-ball 47 in his farewell One-Day International in Hamilton, the decisive game of the three-match series. A late collapse that saw five wickets fall for nine runs and result in a total of just 246 threatened to spoil the script until a fightback from the bowlers, led by Ish Sodhi's two crucial strikes in the 19th over, sent Australia crashing to 191 all out.

Sodhi dismissed Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell in the space of three deliveries to throw the game wide open after Usman Khawaja (44 off 36 balls) had set Australia well on course.

Smith (21) was out lbw trying to sweep while two balls later, Maxwell was caught at slip by McCullum without opening his account.   

George Bailey and Mitchell Marsh (41) stabilised the innings by adding 59 for the fifth wicket at a healthy rate when Matt Henry, the leading wicket-taker of the series with eight sticks in three matches, provided the breakthrough.

Henry had been taken for 12 runs in his eight over when Bailey was bowled for a painstaking 33 off 60 balls to become his 50th ODI wicket.

Then, in his final over, Henry held onto an inside edge that rebounded off Marsh's foot for a caught and bowled. The dismissal of its match-winner in the second game for a 42-ball 41 triggered a slide as Australia lost its last five wickets for 27 runs in ten overs.  

Henry finished with figures of 3 for 60, Corey Anderson and Sodhi had two wickets each, while Doug Bracewell was economical with 1 for 15 from six overs.

New Zealand suffered a slide of its own after McCullum got it off to a blazing start. The opener's innings included three sixes to give him 200 sixes in his 260-match ODI career, leaving him fourth on the overall list headed by Pakistan's Shahid Afridi with 351. With him at the crease, the New Zealand run-rate was near 8.5, but slowed after his dismissal, caught by John Hastings off Marsh.

Martin Guptill completed his 30th half-century, but Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls made only 18 each. Elliott (50) and Anderson (27) added 52 for the fifth wicket, but once Anderson fell off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood with the score at 223 for 5, New Zealand imploded. The last five wickets fell for just nine runs.

Marsh finished with 3 for 34, while Hazlewood, Hastings and Scott Boland picked up two wickets each.

The sides next face off in a two-Test series starting on Friday.

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