Australia Dominates Series with 3-0 Clean Sweep

Before rain interrupted Australia's innings at 118 for 4 in 10.4 overs, they had restricted NZ to 98 for 3.
Australia Dominates Series with 3-0 Clean Sweep

Australia easily won a shortened series-finale at a dismal Eden Park, capping off a devastating sweep of New Zealand ahead of the T20 World Cup. Australia was sent in under overcast skies, and they made 67 for 2 in the powerplay before rain repeatedly stopped play, causing their innings to terminate at 118 for 4 from 10.4 overs.

Then, New Zealand failed miserably to reach their revised target of 126 from 10 overs, as Australia’s disciplined pace bowlers enjoyed the seaming conditions. Prior to the commencement of their Test series on Thursday, both teams exercised caution by resting some players.

Australia triumphed in the three-match series and raised the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, marking their 100th Twenty20 International victory. Both teams used this series as crucial practice before deciding on their World Cup lineups.

Australia’s final practice session before the tournament in June was held there, and New Zealand’s final preparations will be completed with a five-match Twenty20 International series in Pakistan in April. Spencer Johnson, a left-arm quick bowler, took advantage of a situation when Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were given a break to finish the three-over powerplay with a brilliant bowl.

Averaging over 140 km/h, Johnson began with a terrible short throw and then took out the recalled Tim Seifert with a vicious delivery. Then he produced an even better delivery, slicing sharply back into Glenn Phillips and veering past Matthew Wade, the acting captain, behind the stumps.

In his second over, Johnson followed up with a frightening combination of full and short deliveries, while Nathan Ellis, Australia’s fringe quick, too impressed with tight bowling to highlight the country’s abundant supply of pacemakers.

Following his thumb injury in game two, Devon Conway, who opened the bat, was ruled out for New Zealand, leaving them without numerous vital batsmen. However, during the last two games they played in Auckland, their batting collapsed.

On a lively surface, batting was difficult because the hosts never posed much of a threat during the chase. Against Australia’s stingy attack, their top order never got going and, as the pressure on the scoreboard increased, they kept picking out fielders in the deep. Similar to game two, Philipps carried New Zealand’s hopes as he hammered forty off just twenty-four balls, but he was not well-supported.

With so many powerful hitters in Australia’s starting XI, Steven Smith does not seem to belong. In game two, he made just 11 off seven balls in a short innings that featured creative strokes on nearly every ball he faced.

When David Warner was declared out with an adductor injury, Smith had another opportunity to bat at the top of the order. He began with a first-ball boundary after hitting a bouncer from Adam Milne.

But two deliveries later, Smith gave up as he nicked off a behemoth of a delivery that spit out the ball. Batting all-rounder Matthew Short was given a shot at No. 3 because captain Mitchell Marsh was resting.

Struggling to get a position in Australia’s T20 World Cup team, Short showcased his brilliant batting style that has seen him rule the BBL in recent years. Before two thunderous hits off Milne found their way into the stands in the fifth over, he had already hit Trent Boult for a six off the second ball. Short’s explosive 27 from 11 balls came to an end when he was caught off guard by a slower ball from the swift Ben Sears.

In Australia’s short innings, New Zealand will need to improve their fielding after dropping three catches. Josh Clarkson at backward point and Ish Sodhi at short fine leg gave Travis Head a reprieve in fairly simple situations.

Mark Chapman’s inability to hold onto a more difficult opportunity at the long-off boundary, which would have given Glenn Maxwell a life on his opening ball, added to New Zealand’s suffering.

It concluded a lethargic series for New Zealand in the field, who had also blown several opportunities in the first two matches. They were especially disappointed with two chances lost in the opening game to remove Marsh, who drove Australia to a nail-biting victory with an undefeated 72.

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