Saturday, February 6, 2016

Australia draw level at Wellington through Warner, Mitch Marsh

Australia, after having lost the first match of the Chappell- Hadlee series convincingly by a huge margin of 159 runs were out to seek redemption at the Cake Tin in Wellington. The Kiwis won the toss and Brendon McCullum decided that they would bat first. New Zealand were unchanged while the Australians made 3 changes to the team that lost at Eden Park, Shaun Marsh being replaced by Usman Khawaja, Scott Boland coming in for Kane Richardson who had back soreness while leg spinner Adam Zampa replaced the injured James Faulkner.

Brendon McCullum was a man in hurry and he gave New Zealand a rousing start. Fierce cuts, authoritative pulls and swashbuckling inside out shots punctuated his impact innings of 28 made in just 12 deliveries. Boland was the man who got the prized scalp in his very first over.

Kane Williamson, after a rare eight ball duck in his previous innings was a bit edgy and circumspect early on making just 4 off his first 19 deliveries but he cut loose with two consecutive boundaries after that. Mitch Marsh came in and applied the screws on the run making by first taking out Guptill who was looking dangerous and then getting Nicholls in his second over, New Zealand 95-3 in the 18th. Williamson was purring along by this time and Elliott also got a move on. Kane reached his half century off 71 balls in the process also bringing up the Kiwi 150 in the 29th over.

The debutant leggie Zampa got the big scalp of Williamson caught by Smith at deep extra cover. Williamson made 60 off 74 balls as Corey Anderson joined Elliott out in the middle. Zampa for Elliott in his very next over and the Kiwis were in trouble now and when Ronchi and Anderson too departed in short succession they were 205-7 in the 41st. Santner and Milne though joined forces and smashed some big hits to take New Zealand to a very competitive 281-9 in 50 overs. Mitch Santner again contributed at the end for the Kiwis like has become the norm lately making 42 off 35 balls.

Australia started the chase confidently with both Khawaja and Warner going after the bowling and taking full toll on any loose offering from Boult and Henry. The Aussie 50 came up at the end of the 6th over and raced to 77-0 after 10. The Aussie 100 and Warner's 50 both came in the 13th over, Warner reaching the landmark in 37 balls. Khawaja too brought up his maiden fifty off 48 balls but could not carry on as he spooned a return catch to Santner off his 49th ball.

Henry then returned to make a double strike to remove Smith for two who was caught brilliantly by Ronchi and then cleaning up Bailey for a duck. When Maxwell chopped a Boult delivery on to his stumps for 6 Australia had slipped from 122-0 to 144-4 and looked in some trouble. But Mitch Marsh looked in superb touch right from the word go as he played some delectable shots to get going. Santner then returned and made a double strike, first Warner leg before for 98 and then getting Wade for 2 in the next over who was caught brilliantly by Milne in the deep.

At this stage Australia still needed 85 runs in 17 overs but Marsh, already in great touch found an able ally in John Hastings and the two of then comfortably took the Aussie's over the line with Marsh remaining unbeaten on 69 off 72 balls and Hastings on 48 off 47 balls. Mitch Marsh for the man of the match for his peppy performance with both the bat and the ball and for keeping the Aussie's still alive in this series.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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