Auckland: Australia cruised to a 19-run victory in a rain-affected T20 tri-series final with New Zealand on Wednesday to claim the world number one ranking in the shortest form of the game for the first time.
New Zealand struggled to 150 for nine after electing to bat first at Auckland’s Eden Park but failing to repeat the pyrotechnics that saw them score 243 against Australia at the same ground last Friday.
Australia never looked in danger of missing the 151-run target but the manner in which the victory came was anti-climatic. The players were off the pitch when officials decided to abandon the match due to persistent rain, awarding Australia a 19-run win under the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Australia’s bowlers avenged that pasting as they tore through New Zealand’s middle order, led by spinner Ashton Agar’s career-best T20 figures for three for 27. Ross Taylor’s 43 of 38 balls was the highlight of a poor New Zealand batting display that included just five sixes, despite Eden Park’s notoriously short boundaries.
The result meant David Warner’s men completed the tri-series undefeated, notching convincing wins in all their five matches against New Zealand and England. It also means Australia leapfrog Pakistan to become the top-rated T20 team, the first time they have held the number one spot since rankings were introduced in 2011.
“I’m over the moon, right from the get-go we played superb cricket,” Warner said, crediting the series win to the skills his players learned in Australia’s domestic Big Bash League. “It just shows the great depth we have in Australian cricket. The clarity and roles that these individuals have at Big Bash level can (also) be executed on the international stage.”