Australia’s new found confidence in Twenty20 cricket was on display once again after a 6 wicket victory over New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington with Mitchell Johnson claiming three wickets.
The Aussies have taken along time to adjust to the shortest format of the game but after another faultless all round display they’ll go into the Twenty20 World Cup as one of the favourites to claim the title.
Having bowled the Kiwis out for just 118 the Aussies made light work of their run chase reaching their target with 25 balls to spare despite losing three wickets in the space of 9 balls early on in the innings.
Michael Clarke and David Hussey enjoyed a 4th wicket partnership of 67 which steered the Aussies towards the winning total after the visitors had been reduced to 39-3 inside the first 5 overs.
The explosive David Warner (19) was first to go thanks to a full length delivery from Shane Bond which Warner misjudged only to see it knock his off stump over. New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori then trapped Shane Watson (19) LBW before pinch hitter Mitchell Johnson failed to trouble the New Zealand bowlers after he was bowled by Bond.
With the Aussies in trouble Clarke and Hussey were able to take time to slowly build a match winner partnership. With the hard work done Hussey was caught by Martin Guptill for 46 leaving Clarke and Cameron White to see the Aussies home.
Daniel Vettori won the toss for New Zealand and elected to bat first hoping his top order would be able to build a strong platform in order to set Australia a large target putting the visitors under pressure during the run chase.
Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan for Vettori with Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson all bowling over 150 kph forming a fearsome three pronged attack.
Tait made the first breakthrough claiming the wicket of Brendon McCullum the opening batsman was just 131 runs short of becoming the first player to score 1000 runs in international cricket but he was dismissed for just two after he was caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
McCullum opening partner Peter Ingram soon followed having only scored 2 before he was bowled by Johnson to leave the Kiwis 13-2. Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor offered some resistant and started to build a strong partnership before Taylor was trapped LBW giving the impressive Johnson his second wicket of the night.
Guptill was joined out in the middle by James Franklin and the pair started to find the runs easier to come by once Tait, Nannes and Johnson finished their spells. A promising partnership of 21 was built before Johnson was brought back into the attack striking straightaway to remove Guptill who was caught by Shane Watson for 30 to leave the hosts 54-4.
Gareth Hopkins and Franklin gave New Zealand hope by building a 5th wicket partnership of 50 but Watson got the breakthrough in his third over dismissing Hopkins for 21 after hew was caught by Haddin.
The loss of Hopkins and then Franklin (43) saw New Zealand collapse from 104-4 to 114-9 as they lost 5 wickets in the space of three overs to give the Aussies the upper hand chasing a total of just 119.