Black Caps pip Aussies in Eden Park thriller

It was a tale of two collapses as Australia suffered a dramatic one-wicket loss to co-hosts New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

Monster totals may have been everyone’s pre-match prediction, given the unique dimensions of Eden Park with its short straight boundaries.

Instead, it was a monstrous collapse that defined the game as the visitors were rolled for 151 in 32.2 overs.

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Australia slipped from 1-80 to 9-106 in the space of 45 minutes and nine scarcely-believable overs.

Man of the match Trent Boult was chief destroyer, claiming five wickets in three overs at the cost of one run.

“Our batting was horrendous, to put it lightly,” Michael Clarke said.

Tough guy: Brendon McCullum's battered arm. Photo: Getty

Tough guy: Brendon McCullum’s battered arm. Photo: Getty

Brad Haddin top-scored with 43, putting on a final-wicket stand of 45 runs with Pat Cummins to ensure it was not a record-breaking low for Australian cricket.

Their total was not defensible, but almost proved defendable before Kane Williamson hammered a six off Pat Cummins to bring up the winning runs in the 24th over.

There was some nervous moments among the crowd of 40,053 when the hosts stumbled from 1-78 to 9-146, with Mitchell Starc twice on a hat-trick.

Brendon McCullum was struck on the arm by a 147km/h delivery from Mitchell Johnson in the third over, but continued to plunder runs with remarkable ease.

McCullum powered past 50 in 21 balls – equalling the mark he set last week against England for the fastest World Cup half-century.

McCullum was aggressive with his batting, bowling changes and fields, while his teammates backed him up magnificently in the field.

The result is likely to decide top spot in Pool A, in which case New Zealand will be assured of a home semi-final.

Even when Clarke won the toss, McCullum felt he enjoyed a victory given the hosts would have bowled first had the coin fell the other way.

“We’ll chase whatever total they set us,” he said.

It didn’t look that way when the opening over went for 15 runs, starting with a nervous wide from Tim Southee.

Australia raced to 50 in just the sixth over, with only Aaron Finch back in the sheds.

Take that: Kane Williamson thumps the final ball over the fence to set Eden Park alight. Photo: Getty

Take that: Kane Williamson thumps the final ball over the fence to set Eden Park alight. Photo: Getty

McCullum then threw the ball to veteran tweaker Daniel Vettori and it proved a masterstroke.

Vettori and Boult dried up the runs, building the pressure that resulted in Shane Watson picking out Southee on the rope with a pull shot.

Chaos ensued.

David Warner challenged his lbw dismissal the following over, but Hawk-Eye deemed it to be the ‘umpire’s call’.

Steve Smith was caught behind after making four when he prodded forward to Vettori before Boult breezed through the middle order with minimal fuss and marvellous swing.

Glenn Maxwell and Mitch Marsh chopped balls from Boult onto their stumps in the 18th over, while Kane Williamson claimed catches to dismiss Clarke and Johnson.

Starc was undone by arguably Boult’s best delivery, which held its line to clatter into middle stump.

Mitchell Johnson started with a no-ball; Starc a wide as the Blackcaps bolted to 0-39 after three overs.

Starc was the pick of Australia’s bowlers with figures of 6-28.

The left-armer rattled the stumps of Southee and Adam Milne to give Australia hope of an unthinkable victory, but Boult kept him out for two balls and Williamson did the rest.


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