A powerful batting performance from Martin Guptill helped New Zealand take out the fifth match against Australia.
Chasing 143 to win, New Zealand’s openers raced out of the blocks to set up a seven-wicket victory that sealed a 3-2 series win for the hosts.
Guptill and Devon Conway put on 106 runs for New Zealand’s opening stand in just 11.5 overs. It was Guptill who dominated the partnership, with Conway happy to give the big-hitting veteran the bulk of the strike.
Guptill smashed 71 runs off 46 balls in his Player of the Match performance, hitting four sixes and seven fours before falling to Jhye Richardson (1/19) with victory in sight.
Under mounting pressure heading into the series due to a run of low scores, the 34-year-old finished the campaign with an average of 43.60 and strike rate of 159.12. He was the highest run-scorer in the series, with 218 runs from his five innings.
Guptill was the third batsman to fall for New Zealand but by that stage victory looked assured.
The Black Caps were cruising at the 11-over mark but two wickets in two balls from fast-bowler Riley Meredith opened the door momentarily for Australia. Meredith (2/39) had Conway caught for 36 in the 12th over and with his next delivery trapped Kane Williamson in front for a golden duck.
Glenn Phillips ensured there would be no more wobbles however, smashing an unbeaten 34 off 16 to wrap up the match.
Having elected to bat first, Australia got off to a rocky start. Promoted to the top of the order, Josh Philippe (2) was trapped in front by Trent Boult in the third over.
However, they were on course for a big total after a 66-run stand between Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade, with both batters looking well set.
But the wheels came off for Australia after Ish Sodhi had Finch caught for 36 in the 10th over. Things only got worse from there as Glenn Maxwell (1) perished to Mark Chapman (1/9) in the 11th over before Boult (2/26) struck again in the 15th to remove Wade for 44.
Sodhi returned to dismiss Marcus Stoinis (26) and Ashton Agar (6), both off full tosses, and finished with match figures of 3/24 and a series best 13 wickets for the campaign.
Australia’s hopes of pushing past 150 were put to bed by Tim Southee (2/38) in the final over as he snared the wickets of Mitchell Marsh (10) and Richardson (4). A total of 142/8 was never likely to be enough.
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