Australia v New Zealand, World T20, Group 2, Dharamsala March 18, 2016

McClenaghan leads NZ to second victory


New Zealand 142 for 8 (Guptill 39, Elliott 27, Faulkner 2-18) beat Australia 134 for 9 (Khawaja 38, Marsh 24, McClenaghan 3-17) by eight runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mitchell McClenaghan held his nerve to pick up two wickets and concede just three runs in the penultimate over of Australia's chase © Getty Images

New Zealand's Midas touch at this World Twenty20 continued in Dharamsala, where they took their tournament record to two wins from two matches with an eight-run victory over Australia. Having spun India out in Nagpur, New Zealand made one change to their side, bringing in the fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan to replace the spinner Nathan McCullum. McClenaghan duly took 3 for 17 and played a significant role in derailing Australia's innings.

Australia, by comparison, seemed confused at the selection table. They picked two specialist spinners to complement allrounder Glenn Maxwell but those two men - Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa - bowled only one over each. The No.1 batsman on the ICC's T20 international rankings, Aaron Finch, was also left out, as was Josh Hazlewood. Australia's performance was far from disastrous, as the margin suggests, but neither did they seem entirely cohesive.

Another strange call was the decision to send Agar in ahead of Australia's most renowned finisher, James Faulkner, with 43 needed off 30 balls and five wickets in hand. Agar scored 9 off eight balls, and Faulkner did not get to face a ball until there were 21 needed off 10 balls. That was in the penultimate over of the chase of 143, an over in which McClenaghan took two big wickets, those of Agar and Mitchell Marsh for 24. From 22 needed off 12, Australia soon needed 19 off the last over.

Corey Anderson was given the responsibility by Kane Williamson and had Faulkner caught in the deep first ball; Australia's finisher was finished, and so were their hopes. Earlier, Williamson had won the toss and chose to bat on a dry surface that both captains expected would become slower, and New Zealand's 142 for 8 proved adequate.

Usman Khawaja, selected to open alongside Shane Watson, gave Australia an encouraging start and was picking gaps at will, but his run-out on 38 from 27 balls was a turning point. Adam Milne's throw from the deep to the bowler Grant Elliott caught the diving Khawaja just short, and Australia were 62 for 3 in the ninth over, their momentum rapidly deserting them. The rest of the batsmen struggled to get in on the slow pitch.

Mitchell Santner's first two overs had been outstanding, continuing his form from the win over India. Just as he had Rohit Sharma, Santner deceived Smith with a beautiful delivery that dropped and turned past the edge as Smith danced down the crease. Luke Ronchi completed the stumping, Smith was gone for 6, and Santner soon added the wicket of David Warner to his collection as well.

McClenaghan had picked up the first wicket, with Watson caught off a slower ball for 13, and he returned later to remove Mitchell Marsh and Agar. Marsh had struck a couple of sixes to give Australia hope but once he and Glenn Maxwell, who played so many reverse shots he seemed at times to be a proper if out-of-touch left-hander, departed, New Zealand were firmly in control.

They had seemed to be in complete control early in their own innings, at 58 for 0 from six overs. New Zealand's left-arm spinner was Santner but his Australian counterpart was the one delivering gifts. Agar, with all of one match and two overs behind him in his T20 international career, bowled the third over and was understandably nervous. So much so that his first two balls were full tosses that Martin Guptill duly smashed for six.

Another six to end Agar's over left him with figures of 0 for 18 from six balls, and he was not asked to bowl another one for the rest of the innings. In fact, Smith's use of his spinners was rather curious all round. Australia chose all the spinners in their squad, from A to Z, but the rest of the alphabet did all the work. After Agar, Zampa bowled one over of legspin and cost just three runs, but like Agar was not called upon again.

Smith got three overs out of Maxwell but mostly relied on his fast and medium options. They were effective enough, helping to restrict New Zealand to 142 for 8 after Guptill got them away to a flying start. Guptill raced to 39 from 27 deliveries but was the first man to fall, holing out to deep midwicket off Faulkner's bowling. Faulkner picked up two wickets, as did Maxwell, but Watson and Marsh also kept things tight.

New Zealand's batsmen kept making starts only to get caught going for the big shot. Williamson skied one for 24. Anderson slogged down the ground for 3. Colin Munro, tied down by Marsh, pulled to deep midwicket for 23 to end an entertaining innings that featured effective reverse hitting. Ross Taylor was taken at deep midwicket for 11, as was Ronchi for 6. Had Australia been on a fishing trawler they could hardly have hoped for more catches in the deep.

But New Zealand had enough runs in the end and with two wins from two matches, and games against Pakistan and Bangladesh to come, they ended the night terrifically placed to reach the semi-finals. Australia, like India, have some thinking to do.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul_Rampley on March 21, 2016, 5:11 GMT

    When the openers were dismissed Aust. batsmen only had to look for singles and twos and the occasional four to win the game.Khawaja showed them the way by playing proper cricket shots and was superb with his batting. Khawaja's cover drives, his midwicket flicks, his cut, his pull, all had a beauty defying the pragmatism of the format. In a telling number, Usman Khawaja struck six boundaries, and only one looked remotely risky.His ten teammates hit four between them.It says a lot about priorities and shows that guys need to learn from how khawaja batted..It appeared the remaining batsmen forgot that the target was within reach and opted for the big shot with predictable results. For our lineup there is another solution where Steve Smith could bat at five with Maxwell coming in at six, with the all-round pair of Marsh & Faulkner coming in behind him to finish off the job in case there is a collapse. It will mean Australia going with six bowling options which i think is the rightbalance

  • izzidole on March 20, 2016, 12:38 GMT

    Australian captain Smith nor selector Marsh seem to have any knowledge of T20 cricket. Marsh selected two rookies he thought would do the job for Australia on the spinning wickets in India. The two spinners Zampa and Agar bowled only an over each. It was a poor piece of captaincy by Smith to have handed over the ball to Agar first change when he had hardly bowled in shield cricket or the BBL this season. He gave away 18 runs in the over which proved very costly at the end. But somehow the allrounders repaired the damage to bowl out NZ for 142 runs. After a splendid start by Khawaja and Watson captain Smith walked in at number 3 only to dance down the wicket and be stumped for 6 runs which proved to be the beginning of the end for Australia while the run out of Khawaja put the icing on the cake. The idea to send Agar before Faulkner the best allrounder in world cricket with only 43 runs needed in 30 balls with 5 wickets in hand proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Australia.

  • LittleDavyWonka_astallasoompaloompa on March 20, 2016, 11:36 GMT

    If you select a wicket keeper & then bat him at number 10 then you've picked the wrong man behind the stumps. This will be a short trip for the Aussies.

  • Insult_2_Injury on March 20, 2016, 5:10 GMT

    TheTrueOracle - Anyone who tells you they don't want to win a World Cup isn't actually an Aussie. Every Aussie is proud of our winners, whether they are ranked world number one in mudrunning or something meaningless like T20 cricket. If we enter we want to win it. Right now there's a gap between the ability of the players and their cohesion as a team. That's surprising from any Aussie set up, but with half a team of debutantes and the others including Watson & Maxwell who play for themselves, we just don't have the right balance. Smith is entitled to develop as a captain, but he needs a level playing field and it is ridiculous he doesn't have the World top ranked bat picked to play. Play Agar & Zampa, let them bowl and get rid of Maxwell, he continues to let down when the team needs quality. Bat a proven performer Faulkner in Maxwell's spot and he'll produce more than he fails.

  • SirBazza on March 20, 2016, 4:50 GMT

    @cric_junky you must have your head in the sand because Australia were all at sea, inept Captaincy, poor batting order, they better turn it around quick otherwise they are going to be bundled out.

  • left_arm_unorthodox on March 19, 2016, 22:48 GMT

    Aussies don't 'get' 20T still. They're trying to be more creative but they don't know how and end up looking stupid. They have the ammunition to win this tournament, but they need to put the right team on the park and in the right batting order.

  • runout49 on March 19, 2016, 22:02 GMT

    Australia miss the steadying hand of Bailey coming in at 4 or 5. Smith is not a T20 batsman and should be the one to step aside for Finch. Bailey has a better batting average and strike rate than Smith in this format and should have been in the squad from the beginning.

  • NALINWIJ on March 19, 2016, 15:28 GMT

    I hate to say this but NZ selectors have thrashed Australian selectors. NZ made the right horses for courses choices in this ground by omitting Boult and Southee [usually unthinkable]and picking Mc Cleneghan and slow bowlers. While Australia erred by not opening with Warner and sending Agar at 8 instead of Faulkner and perhaps Zampa could have had more of a bowl.

  • cricketsubh on March 19, 2016, 14:08 GMT

    The big problem with Australia is they don't have settle team in t20 cricket they settle their odi and test team but when they play t20,they always rest key players pick new players they don't settle I think Australia need t20 coach boof doing a great job for Australia as a coach in test and odi cricket but I think in t20 cricket u need different types of coach's who understand the format Trevor berlyss is a very good t20 coach and also Australia can easily make Ricky pointing t20 coach I think pointing understand this format nxt world cup in Australia 2020 Australia should make pointing their t20 team coach build a team for 2020 world cup

  • eng_mdkhan on March 19, 2016, 13:14 GMT

    @ Inferno792, couldnt agree more with you, infact the whole australian team seemed in a hurry too get out uncharacteristically. I was more shocked than anything starting with Khawaja's suicidal runout followed by Warner's dismissal. Considering the target was well within their reach they somehow seemed very uncomfortable especially Maxwell, its as if he forgot to bring his skills to the pitch. Very unusual and uncharacteristic performance from the Aussies. If this is the way (self inflicted psychological pressure of playing on spinning tracks) they are going to play I highly doubt they will fare any better against the remaining teams in the group. I think if a decent score is put up against them and spin is unleashed on them they will succumb easily. Lehmann will have to give them more mental training for the remainder of the games than physical training.