Australia entered the contest as No. 7 T20I team © Getty Images
Australia entered the contest as No. 7 T20I team © Getty Images

In a rain-curtailed match, Australia defeated New Zealand in Eden Park, once again, by 19 runs. This time they clinched the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series. This was Australia’s sixth straight victory in T20Is, equalling their best-ever streak. The last time Australia achieved 6 straight victories in T20Is was at the 2010 World T20 before losing the final to England. With this win, Australia joined Pakistan on 126 points in the ICC T20I Team Rankings.

However, Pakistan still remain the No. 1 team, ahead on decimal points. Although both Australia and Pakistan are on 126 points but when the points are rounded off, the Australians finish on 125.65 points, 0.19 points behind Pakistan who aggregate 125.84 points.

On a two-paced pitch, Williamson and co. struggled to reach 150. The Australian bowlers came strong after being thrashed for 243 on this very venue on Friday. Ashton Agar led the bowling attack with his a career-best 3 for 27. For New Zealand, Ross Taylor’s 38-ball 43 was the only highlight from a rather poor batting display. Eden Park, the ground that witnessed 32 sixes on Friday, saw just 10 being slammed in the final.

Australia began their chase on an easy note. David Warner and D’Arcy Short were involved in 72-run opening stand off just 48 balls. Short’s second T20I fifty set the tone for the chase. He belted 6 fours and 3 sixes, including 2 fours and a six off Trent Boult. He followed it with 2 sixes the next over and a similar treatment for Tim Southee. Rain, however, spoilt Australia’s rhythm for a brief period. Australia then needed 96 to win.

Australia lost wickets upon return. Colin Munro provided breakthrough as Short handed Chapman an easy catch at long-on. Warner followed suit and was bowled for 25. Agar fell for 2 thereafter, being stumped by Seifert for 2. Rain, indeed, gave plenty of breakthroughs for New Zealand.

The New Zealand bowlers followed it up tight length, not giving much room to Maxwell and Finch. Yet, Maxwell and Finch still found the occasional boundary. However, rains hampered Australia’s progression once again as the equation read 30 in 32.

Earlier, after New Zealand opted to bat, Colin Munro and Martin Guptill made their intentions clear with an early flurry of boundaries. However, Warner never allowed Guptill and Munro to settle. He denied another 132-run partnership between the New Zealand openers that had changed the course of the game on Friday. Billy Stanlake provided a breakthrough in the fourth over as Guptill departed for 21, sending the shot straight to Warner. New Zealand were then 48 for 1.

In the next over, Munro also made it to the hut for 29 and New Zealand were brought down to 59 for 2. New Zealand collapsed like pack of cards thereafter. Agar struck twice in the seventh over removing Williamson and Mark Chapman cheaply. Later, he got his third removing the danger man Colin de Grandhomme for 10.

Taylor and Ish Sodhi’s struggling 38-run stand towards the fag end revived the New Zealand innings. Amidst all this, Australia also faced a set back as their mainstay batsman Chris Lynn injured his hand and left the field with the physio.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 150 for 9 in 20 overs (Colin Munro 29, Ross Taylor 43; Ashton Agar 3 for 27) lose to Australia 121 for 3 in 14.4 overs (D’Arcy Short 50; Ish Sodhi 1 for 21) by 19 runs (DLS method)

Man of the Match: Ashton Agar.
Man of the Series: Glenn Maxwell.