Agar stars as Australia claim tri-series honours

A splendid slow-bowling performance from Ashton Agar helped Australia beat New Zealand by 19 runs (D/L method) in the T20 tri-series final at Eden Park on Wednesday.

Left-arm spinner Agar returned figures of 3-27 in four overs as the Aussies restricted the Kiwis to a modest total of 150/9 in their 20 overs after home captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.

The hosts got off to a fast start with the willow as openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro put on 48 inside the first five overs.

But the wheels came off as seamer Billy Stanlake made the breakthrough, removing Guptill for 21, while Kane Richardson took care of Munro, for 29, before the Powerplay was over to leave the Black Caps still in a decent position of 63/2 after six overs.

Agar though put the visitors on top with the wickets of Williamson (9), Mark Chapman (8) and Colin de Grandhomme (10) to break the back of the home side’s middle-order.

Ross Taylor hit a few boundaries with the tail-enders at the other end to finish with 43 not out to at least give the Kiwis something to bowl at.

Australia got off to a good start in the run-chase, with skipper David Warner and D’Arcy Short adding 72 for the first wicket with Short the more aggressive of the two going to his fifty in just 30 balls.

However, the hosts hit back with three quick wickets of their own as Short (50), Warner (25) and Agar (2), who was promoted to number three after Chris Lynn injured his shoulder in the field, fell within three overs of each other.

At 84/3 in the 11th over, New Zealand sniffed a chance but Glenn Maxwell (20 not out) and Aaron Finch (18 not out) batted with care to take the Aussies to 121/3 after 14.4 overs.

The rain then came and the umpires called the game off to give Australia victory and the T20 tri-series, which also involved England, trophy.