Thriller gives Caps series lead

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New Zealand won a tense opening encounter in the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series by six runs despite an unbeaten century on debut by Marcus Stoinis at Eden Park.

Australia were forced into a late change with stand in skipper Matthew Wade sidelined with a back injury that meant Peter Handscomb would don the gloves and Aaron Finch would skipper.

The Black Caps set Australia a target of 287 runs to win after they posted 286/9 in their fifty overs with Neil Broom top scoring with a quick 73.

New Zealand were able to keep the momentum up in their innings even as wickets continued to fall at consistent intervals.

Tom Latham (7) went early after nicking through to Handscomb off the bowling of Mitchell Starc to leave New Zealand 13 for 1.

Martin Guptill (61) held the top order together and enjoyed partnerships with Kane Williamson (24), Ross Taylor (16) and Broom before he became the second of three scalps claimed by new man Stoinis who had a stunning debut and finished as the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3 for 49.

Broom shared a productive stand with Jimmy Neesham (48) after Colin Munro (2) was the third man out to Stoinis.

Neesham and Broom would add 76 for the sixth wicket before Josh Hazlewood got the breakthrough.

Some late hitting from Trent Boult (16 not out) from number 11 helped New Zealand post what proved to be a competitive total.

Boult and Lockie Ferguson tore into the Australian top order reducing the visitors to 67 for six with the quicks each claiming a brace of wickets.

Sam Heazlett endured a forgettable debut with his innings coming to an end as he flashed at one back of a length nicking through to stand in keeper Latham for just 4.

Of the top six only Glenn Maxwell (20) could reach twenty runs before Stoinis nearly pulled off a remarkable rally.

Stoinis, who would end on 146 not out, put on 87 with James Faulkner (25) and 48 with Pat Cummins (36).

When Mitchell Starc (3) became the ninth wicket to fall with Australia on 226 the game looked over but Stoinis had other ideas he managed to take the bulk of the strike in an incredible 54 run partnership with Hazlewood, who made a 26 ball duck.

Stoinis has with a single incredible performance justified a call up that few understood.

Mitchell Santner would end as the pick of the Black Caps bowlers with figures of 3 for 44.

New Zealand will be relieved that they managed to wrap up what should have been a simple win but turned into a tense thriller in Auckland.

Williamson was New Zealand’s hero in the end effecting the run out of Hazlewood that would seal a fantastic series opening win.

Stoinis was awarded the man of the match award despite the loss and said after the game: “It may sink in later, the win was the priority. Some sad faces in the dressing room.

“I am not experienced for these grounds. Finch gave me the confidence – I had a full crack at ten overs. The key was not to panic. The first instinct is to score quicker.

“Jimmy [Faulkner] was good out there to bat with. We calmed each other down, and at the end we had a crack at it. Sometimes, the plans don’t come off. A performance like this does well for your confidence, but consistency is the key. Hopefully, I back it up.”

Australia’s emergency skipper Finch said at the post match presentation: “That’s a rollercoaster. Probably one of the best one-day performances [from Stoinis]. Just couldn’t get over the line. You are aiming to get it deep, you never know what happens.

“I thought we were sloppy; the all-round performance. We believed we could chase 287, the ball flies at Eden Park. A lot of extras and wides, you can nitpick anything. Just a bit of a shoulder twinge [while batting]. I will get through it.”

New Zealand skipper Williamson was a relieved man after the tense finish saying: “As Finchy mentioned, it was a rollercoaster. The way Marcus played for a good part of 35 overs was fantastic.

“He deserves to be the Man of the Match. On these sort of grounds, you need to look to take wickets. The way they built partnerships late gave us a chance too. Eden Park has produced some thrillers, and nice to be involved in this.

“It [Placing myself at short mid-on] was hopefully to gather a throw from somebody and avoid a direct-hit maybe.We need to be better going into Napier.”

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