Australia triumph over New Zealand in World Cup nail-biter

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Australia’s Adam Zampa (centre) celebrates with teammate Josh Inglis after taking the wicket of New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner (left) during the World Cup ODI match between Australia and New Zealand at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on October 28, 2023. — AFP

Australia defeated New Zealand Saturday in a World Cup nail-biter at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium Dharamsala.

The crucial win saw the Aussies strengthening their position in the World Cup points table with eight points in six games and a decent 0.970 net run rate (NRR).

In their chase of 389 runs, the Black Caps started just fine with their openers Devon Conway and Will Young contributing to 61 runs combined.

However, it was the 96-run partnership between Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell that provided the much-needed stability to the Black Caps.

Mitchell scored 54 off 51 before losing his wicket to Adam Zampa, who has been in astounding form. However, it was Ravindra who played a valiant knock, scoring an astonishing century, 116 off 89 runs with 14 boundaries.

The left-handed batter was looking in good shape and it looked like he would take his side over the line but Pat Cummins removed Ravindra — the biggest threat to his side — in the 41st over.

After Ravindra, Jimmy Neesham stood and fought till the end but with no support from the other end, he could only take his side close to the colossal total by scoring 58 off 39.

Batting first, Australia posted a massive 389-run target courtesy of blistering knocks of Travis Head and David Warner as the opening duo built a 175-run partnership that put the five-time World Champions in a dominating position.

Travis marked his return from a long injury and scored 109 off just 67 deliveries courtesy of 17 boundaries, 10 fours and seven sixes. On the other hand, Warner was just 19 runs short of a well-deserved century as he lost his wicket for 81 runs to Glenn Phillips.

After the openers departed, the Aussies slowed down and couldn’t hold to their wickets and it looked like they would have to settle for a total under 350 runs but Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis and skipper Pat Cummins provided the much-needed breakthrough at the end.

Maxwell smashed 41 off 24 with seven boundaries but couldn’t convert his rapid knock into a half-century. Inglis didn’t play as fast as Maxwell or Head but he scored 38 runs at a good run rate of 135.71.

Meanwhile, Cummins scored 37 off just 14 deliveries with the help of two fours and four sixes, the Australian skipper played a key role in taking his side’s total to 388.

The Aussies couldn’t hold on to their wickets and were all out for 388 runs with four balls to spare.

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