Kane’s nerves of steel save Kiwi blushes

2015 World Cup

A tighter finish would have been tough to produce as New Zealand beat Australia by one wicket in Auckland on Saturday, taking it down to the wire in chasing a small target and needing Kane Williamson to save them.

Trent Boult's five saw the Aussies all out for 151, but the chase was saved by Williamson as they crumbled to nine down. Mitchell Starc's six wickets put hearts in mouths, but Boult and Williamson's nerves of steel won the day.

Australia won the toss and opted to bat at Eden Park, with Black Caps legend Martin Crowe watching on in anticipation of being inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame later on in the day.

They put on 30 runs for the first wicket before Aaron Finch was bowled by Tim Southee for 14. David Warner and Shane Watson then took the score to 80, and then the wheel came off the bus completely.

Watson was caught by Southee off Dan Vettori for 23, and a ball later Southee trapped WArner LBW for 34. Three down for 80 soon became six down for 97 as Boult removed Michael Clarke, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh cheaply.

Vettori accounted for Steve Smith, while Boult brought up his five-fer by bagging Mitchells Johnson and Starc. The only reason the Aussies passed 120 was thanks to Brad Haddin's 43, and he was the final wicket to fall, to Corey Anderson.

So, needing a paltry 152 to win, the Black Caps proceeded to replicate the poor chase they showed against Scotland. They started off well though, as Brendon McCullum smacked a quick half century from one end.

Opener Martin Guptill was out for 11 in the fourth over, the score already on 40, as they looked to keep their Net Run Rate high. But this tactic was about to backfire and they crumbled from 78 for two, when McCullum departed, to 79 for four.

Still, with half the runs already in the bag, all seemed safe as Williamson batted from one end, slowly but surely. Starc had already bowled Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott, leaving Corey Anderson to bat with Williamson.

They took the score to 131, so just 21 runs to get, when Anderson fell to Maxwell for 26. From there it was the Starc Show, as he got rid of Luke Ronchi, Adam Milne, and Southee for six and two ducks respectively.

Starc was on a hat trick with nine wickets down, and Boult had to come in and see out two deliveries to get Williamson, stranded at the other end during all this, on strike. He defended manfully.

Then Pat Cummins was given the task of bowling to Williamson, and the blonde batsman cleared his front foot, moved away from his stumps, and swung hard, hoping for the best. The small straight boundary ensured the winning six, and Starc laughed in disbelief.

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