Australia vs New Zealand: Finch, bowlers set up series decider as Aus thrash NZ in fourth T20I


Skipper Aaron Finch smashed 79 off 55 balls before the bowlers put on an all-round show to help Australia seal a comfortable 50-run win over New Zealand in the fourth T20I on Friday.

It was a clinical performance from Australia in a must-win match as they bowled out New Zealand for 106 to set up a series decider on Sunday.

While Finch led from the front and took Australia to a competitive 156/6 almost single-handedly, it was an all-round performance from the visitors’ bowlers as Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Glenn Maxwell all picked wickets.

Chasing a decent 157, New Zealand suffered an early jolt as Agar removed the in-form Martin Guptill in the fifth over with just 21 runs on board.

Wickets kept falling at regular intervals as New Zealand struggled to get a partnership going. Tim Seifert, skipper Kane Williamson, and Glenn Phillips all went cheaply as hosts scored just 41 runs in the first 10 overs.

It seemed like New Zealand was never really interested in the chase as they lost James Neesham and Mitchell Santner in the next two overs. With seven down for 64 runs, the chase was almost over as New Zealand required more than 90 runs in the last six.

Kyle Jamieson scored 30 off 18 balls but it wasn’t enough to repair the damage as the Kiwis were bundled out for 106 in the 19th over.

Earlier, opting to bat first, Australia got off to a bad start as Mitchell Santner struck in the first over. Opener Matthew Wade after hitting a four and six cut the ball into the hands of Ish Sodhi at short third man.

Josh Philippe then joined skipper Aaron Finch and played a sluggish innings while Finch continued to score at a run a ball. Philippe survived a close LBW call in the sixth over as Australia scored 37/1 after the completion of powerplay.

But Philippe wasn’t able to make the most of reprieve as he was sent back to the dugout in the next over by Sodhi. Last match’s hero Glenn Maxwell was looking dangerous but he too went back after Trent Boult ended his cameo.

Marcus Stoinis and Finch stitched a 25-run stand but Kane Williamson’s sensational catch ended the all-rounder’s innings in the 13th over. Boult in the next over dismissed Ashton Agar as Australia was reduced to 97/5 with skipper Finch looking for a company.

Wickets kept falling at one end while Finch continued scoring at a brisk rate. Australia were 130 for the loss of six wickets after the 19th over and Finch switched gear in the final five balls and whacked four sixes off Kyle Jamieson.

Brief Scores: Australia 156/6 (Aaron Finch 79*; Ish Sodhi 3-32); New Zealand 106 (Kyle Jamieson 30; Kane Richardson 3-19)

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Sagar Biswas

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