New Zealand pipped Australia by eight runs in a World Twenty20 thriller in Dharamsala.
Chasing 143 to win their tournament opener, Australia were in contention thanks to 38 from Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell’s 22 and 24 by Mitchell Marsh.
But from 100 for four with five overs to go, regular wickets fell as Steven Smith’s side finished agonisingly short in another pulsating limited-overs contest between the teams like last year’s 50-over World Cup group game.
Having shocked hosts and favourites India in Nagpur on Tuesday, the Black Caps are favourites to be one of two teams to advance from Group 2.
New Zealand’s decision not to stick with the formula of three specialist spinners that did for India paid off, with the recalled Mitchell McClenagan being man of the match for his three wickets.
Australia copied the Black Caps’ Tuesday tactic, which surprisingly meant leaving out the world’s top-ranked batsman Aaron Finch.
The move initially paid dividends as a fast start by Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson, who made 39 and 24 respectively, was pegged back to total of 142 for eight in which Colin Munro scored 23 and Grant Elliott 27.
However New Zealand’s death bowling was decisive, with Corey Anderson comfortably defending the 19 needed from the last over thanks to two wickets as Australia finished nine down.
Full report follows…