New Zealand win tense battle against Australia
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand scraped home in a thrilling finish against Australia in Saturday’s clash of the Cricket World Cup co-hosts, with Kane Williamson hitting a six to give the Black Caps a one-wicket win after Australia had threatened a remarkable victory.
Having bowled out Australia for just 151, New Zealand looked set to inflict a humiliating defeat on their neighbour when they cruised to 78 for one in the eighth over, but some superb bowling by Mitchell Starc (6-28) breathed new life into the contest.
Williamson ended it when he clubbed a six from the first ball of the 24th over, delighting a packed Eden Park and leaving New Zealand unbeaten at the top of Pool A.
Starc’s magnificent bowling effort – he took three wickets for four runs from three overs in his final spell – meant Australia left the match with their pride and confidence intact just when both looked shot after a powerful performance by New Zealand’s bowlers and batting top order.
The result did, though, set up New Zealand to win the pool and to take an easier path than Australia through the quarter-finals.
While both teams tried to minimise the importance of Saturday’s match, putting it in context as a pool match and nothing more, there was a psychological advantage at stake, given the two teams could well meet in the final.
Australia 151 in 32.2 overs (Brad Haddin 43, David Warner 34, Shane Watson 23, Aaron Finch 14, Michael Clarke 12; Trent Boult 5-27, Daniel Vettori 2-41, Tim Southee 2-65). New Zealand 152-9 in 23.1 overs (Brendon McCullum 50, Kane Williamson 45 not out, Corey Anderson 26, Martin Guptill 11; Mitchell Starc 6-28, Pat Cummins 2-38). New Zealand won by one wicket.