New Zealand thump Australia in Super 12 opener

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Group 1, Sydney
New Zealand 200-3 (20 overs): Conway 92* (58), Allen 42 (16)
Australia 111 all out (17.1 overs): Maxwell 28 (20), Santner 3-31, Southee 2-6
New Zealand won by 89 runs

Devon Conway hit an unbeaten 92 as New Zealand claimed a comprehensive 89-run win over hosts Australia at the T20 World Cup.

Victory in their Super 12 opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground was the Black Caps’ first over their Trans-Tasman rivals in Australia in any format since 2011.

It was also Australia’s heaviest defeat in a T20 World Cup and their second largest of all time in the 20-over format.

Finn Allen got things started as he bludgeoned 41 from 16 balls in an opening stand of 56 with Conway, who expertly controlled the New Zealand innings.

The left-hander added 69 with captain Kane Williamson and James Neesham smashed 26 not out from 13 balls, including six from the last ball, to take New Zealand up to 200-3.

Australia’s chase faltered early on with David Warner’s bizarre dismissal – bowled via his thigh pad and the back of his bat – the first of three wickets to go down in the powerplay.

A stunning diving catch from Glenn Phillips, running around from deep cover to remove Marcus Stoinis, left the home side 50-4 in the ninth over and all but ended the game as a contest with Australia slumping to 111 all out in the 18th over.

Tim Southee ended with figures of 3-6 from 2.1 overs while left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner took 3-31 as the Kiwis began their tournament with a confidence-boosting win.

“We weren’t able to get partnerships throughout the innings,” said Glenn Maxwell, who top-scored with 28 for Australia.

“It was basically how not to play a T20 and we got beaten in all aspects of the game.”

The hosts travel to Perth to take on Sri Lanka in their next game on Tuesday, while New Zealand move on to Melbourne to face Afghanistan the following day.

Finn fireworks set the tone for NZ before Conway takes over

Allen ensured the Super 12 stage got off to an electric start as he took the attack to Australia on his World Cup debut.

The 23-year-old right-hander thumped Mitchell Starc over the top for four second ball and sent the next delivery even further, over long-on for six.

World number one Twenty20 bowler Josh Hazlewood was next into the firing line and was powered over cover by a charging Allen before the opener was given a life on 19 when his mistimed pull shot burst through Adam Zampa’s hands at short fine leg.

Allen proceeded to nail Pat Cummins and Stoinis for sixes before his stunning display of clean hitting was brought to an end by Hazlewood’s perfectly executed yorker.

Conway had been happy to play second fiddle but, with Allen gone, effortlessly stepped into a leading role.

There wasn’t the out and out aggression of Allen, with the left-hander picking his moments and targeting the leg-spin of Zampa.

The spinner saw his first ball drilled through the covers and Conway twice put him into the stands, the second maximum taking him to a 36-ball half-century.

With Neesham taking the bulk of the strike in the final over, Conway was denied the chance to reach a maiden T20 international hundred, but his classy 58-ball knock put New Zealand well on their way to victory.

Aussies’ chasing troubles continue

For the fifth game running, Australia skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bowl. And, for the fifth game running, his team failed to get over the line.

After three narrow defeats – two by England, the other by India – and being saved by the rain after slumping to 30-3, this was a hammering.

Warner can consider himself extremely unfortunate given the manner of his dismissal, so too, to an extent, Stoinis after Phillips did his best to get ‘catch of the tournament’ sewn up early, but their failure to chase down totals is the continuation of an unwelcome pattern for the hosts.

Australia might have hoped the concerns over Finch’s form were behind them after he hit 76 in their final warm-up game against India but, for now, that remains the outlier.

On paper, the batting line-up remains more than strong enough to make up for the captain’s slump. However, that has not been born out in reality.

“We didn’t bring our A-game and a really good side pounced on us tonight,” Maxwell told ABC after the game.

The problem for the Aussies is the number of top sides in Group 1, all waiting to pounce on the champions.

Australia’s undoubted quality means there is every chance they could bounce back and go all the way, but after their troubles chasing it may take a change of approach to get their big-hitting middle-order firing.

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