The highly entertaining Trans-Tasman T20I Tri-Series ended has come to an end as Australia achieved a comfortable 19-run victory (D/L method) over New Zealand in the final at Auckland. Apart from Australia and New Zealand, the tournament also involved England and had some pretty entertaining performances – both with the bat and the ball – that lit up the proceedings throughout its course.
Here is a look, then, at some of the most notable and memorable efforts in the Trans-Tasman T20I Tri-Series.
Martin Guptill (New Zealand) – 105 off 54 balls v Australia at Auckland: When in flow, Martin Guptill can be one of the most devastating batsmen to watch in limited-overs cricket. The Kiwi opener exhibited his best in the league match against Australia where he smashed an incredible 49-ball ton – the fastest hundred by a New Zealander. The Auckland ground had small boundaries and as New Zealand chose to bat first on a placid track, Guptill took charge of the innings immediately. He flicked his very first delivery for four and followed it up with a six down the ground in the next over. Guptill did not look back after that and one imperious shot after the other followed. He scythed and mowed the bowlers all over the park and struck 9 sixes and 6 fours in his knock.
During his innings, Guptill also overtook Brendon McCullum to become the leading run-scorer in all T20Is. He was dismissed in the 17th over for a glorious 105 off 54 balls which helped New Zealand amass 243-6. However, Australia managed to chase this record score down in 18.5 overs.
Glenn Maxwell (Australia) – 103* off 58 balls and 3-10 v England at Hobart: This was an outstanding all-round display by Australia’s maverick star, Glenn Maxwell. After having helped restrict England to 155 courtesy his smart spin bowling where he had figures of 3-10, Maxwell came to the party with the bat when his team really needed him. The wicket at Hobart was slow and Australia lost their openers in the very first over. Maxwell then went on to play a perfect T20 knock. He showed great game awareness and without throwing his bat around wildly, kept collecting runs.
He displayed a great mix of orthodox shots and his own creative ones to get the boundaries and never let the required run-rate become a problem. While those around him couldn’t stick around for long, Maxwell kept striking the ball at will and guided Australia home with nine balls to spare. Maxwell finished the game by smiting a six off Mark Wood and with it also brought up his second T20I hundred.
D’Arcy Short (Australia) – 76 off 44 balls v New Zealand at Auckland: Playing in only his fourth international game and chasing a record score of 244 against New Zealand, Australia’s D’Arcy Short stunned everyone with a spectacular display that helped his team achieve a record-breaking victory at Auckland. Unfazed by the daunting target, Short, opening the batting for Australia, took on the Kiwi bowlers with great abandon. He initially threw his bat around and boundaries flew off the edge of his bat. After settling in for a few deliveries, however, Short found his groove and began striking the ball cleanly. Whenever the pressure of the asking rate built up, Short would clout hefty blows down the ground to bring it back.
His clean and relentless hitting allowed the other Australian batsmen some breathing space and built up the chase superbly well. By the time Short fell – for a sensational 76 off 44 balls with 8 fours and 3 sixes – the score was 217-4 in 16.4 overs. His effort had knocked the stuffing out of New Zealand and Australia sealed the chase in 18.5 overs. D’Arcy Short was rightly adjudged the Player of the Match.
Billy Stanlake (Australia) 3-15 v New Zealand at Sydney: Using great pace and pinpoint accuracy, Australian seam bowler Billy Stanlake destroyed the New Zealand top order in the very first match of this tournament. Choosing to bowl first on a good Sydney wicket, Australia made early inroads as Stanlake snared two wickets in his first two balls and followed it up with another wicket six balls later. He bowled vicious bouncers and moved the ball around as well that put the Kiwis right on the backfoot. Stanlake was hard to score off and gave away just 15 runs from his four overs with three wickets to his name.
The tall Australian bowled his heart out and did not let the intensity dip even for a bit. Courtesy Stanlake’s sterling bowling effort, Australia restricted New Zealand to just 117-9 and won the game comfortably.
Eoin Morgan (England) 80*off 46 balls v New Zealand at Hamilton: England had a horrible time in the Trans-Tasman T20I series prior to this match, having lost all their three games. In this do-or-die contest against New Zealand at Hamilton, England were put in to bat on a good batting surface. They were struggling at 24-2 before captain Eoin Morgan played one of the best knocks of the tournament. Forming a crucial partnership for the 4th wicket with Dawid Malan, Morgan finally broke free of his poor form and displayed his best in a long time. He struggled early on and could not strike any fours. However, after setting himself up, Morgan unleashed a flurry of boundaries towards the end.
The left-hander smashed four sixes in nine balls off Colin de Grandhomme and Trent Boult and had also taken 18 runs in four deliveries off Mitchell Santner earlier. Morgan remained unbeaten on a sparkling 80 off 46 balls studded with 4 fours and 6 sixes. His knock helped England post a formidable 194-7 and then clinch their first victory of the tournament by 2 runs. Although England were knocked out via poor run-rate, Morgan’s super show would have given them a lot of confidence.