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21-Feb-2018 10:30:00 GMT
NZ v Aus, Tri-Series final, Auckland

Agar, Short power Australia to clinch series

Australia 121 for 3 (Short 50) beat New Zealand 150 for 9 (Taylor 43*, Agar 3-27) by 19 runs (DLS method)

Auckland: A disciplined bowling performance and a D'Arcy Short half-century helped Australia saunter to the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series title at the expense of New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland on Wednesday.

Agar was adjudged Player of the Match as he finished with excellent figures of 3-27 – he had helped restrict New Zealand to 150/9, in itself thanks to Ross Taylor’s unbeaten 38-ball 43.

However, with Short powering the chase, Australia were 121/3 when play was called off.

Opting to bat, Colin Munro and Martin Guptill, the New Zealand openers, typically attacked right from the start. Munro hit the first six of the match off Billy Stanlake’s opening over with a slog through the leg-side. Guptill also milked a couple of boundaries in the following over, hitting one through long-off and the next at fine leg.

However, just as New Zealand seemed destined for another imposing total, Stanlake returned to snare Guptill, who in an attempt to hit the ball over the covers ended up sending it straight into the hands of David Warner. Guptill, who had smashed 105 in just 54 balls in the last encounter against Australia at the same venue, fell for a 15-ball 21.

Munro then carted Richardson for a six in the next over, but the paceman exacted revenge immediately, deceiving the New Zealand opener with a well-disguised slower delivery that mistimed.

Ashton Agar then sparked a middle-order collapse, first castling Kane Williamson (9), the New Zealand captain, and then trapping Mark Chapman (8) plumb in front in the same over.

From 48 without loss, New Zealand plummeted to 93/6 as Colin de Grandhomme (10) became Agar's third victim before Andrew Tye had Mitchell Santner dismissed for a golden duck.

Tim Seifert (3) and Tim Southee (5) also fell cheaply, but Ross Taylor led the resistance, forging a crucial 38-run stand for the ninth wicket with Ish Sodhi (13 off 16 balls). Taylor’s unbeaten 38-ball 43 comprised two fours and a six, and helped New Zealand post a respectable 150/9.

Chasing 151, Warner and Short comfortably added 55 for the opening wicket before rain interrupted play. The match soon resumed without any loss of overs, allowing Short to bring up his second T20I half-century. He was dismissed soon after though, for a 30-ball 50 after Munro had him holing out. It ended a 72-run stand for the first wicket.

The breakthrough buoyed New Zealand. Warner was dismissed shortly thereafter as the Australian captain mistimed a fuller delivery from Sodhi. And when Agar – promoted to No. 3 after Chris Lynn had been forced off the field with a shoulder injury earlier in the day – followed suit, New Zealand found a foothold in the game.

However, Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch saw through the tricky phase when New Zealand were fuelled by hope. They had added an unbroken 37 when rain halted play once again with just 32 balls left in the innings.

Australia needed only 30 runs more to win at that point and were well in control of DLS requirements, meaning when play was eventually abandoned, they were the ones celebrating.

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