Australia's David Warner reacts after he was out bowled by New Zealand's Tim Southee, right, during the T20 World Cup cricket match between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney, Australia. Image Credit: AP

New Zealand beat Australia by 89 runs

Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee claimed three wickets each to guide New Zealand to an 89-run win over hosts Australia in the Twenty20 World Cup opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.

The victory helped New Zealand avenge the loss they suffered at the hands of the Aaron Finch-led team almost a year ago in UAE.

The Black Caps, who are known to punch above their weight in ICC events, floored Australia with a series of jabs and the defending champions were not ready for the ambush. Twenty20 cricket has evolved and moved on and Australia approached their chase of a big target of 201 similar to what the teams would approach when the Twenty20 World Cup was launched in 2007.

Australian batters failed to take a leaf out of Devon Conway’s book and went for the big shots while Conway was keen to rotate the strike and kept playing in the big gaps and collecting runs without much ado and remained unbeaten on 92.

The big loss raises a few questions on Australia’s ability and their tag as one of the favourites. The hosts have the depth, but do they have the right attitude? It seems no. Time and again the batters played big shots that led to their downfall, whether the over has so far has fetched 10 runs or 2 runs. The approach is the same.

Technical snag keeps Australia grounded

Australian innings failed to take off, in fact it didn’t move in the right direction and has stalled due to a technical snag in their approach. The needless aggression at the start of the innings that kept continuing all through the innings caused their downfall and are now facing down the barrel, losing wickets at regular intervals due to the ambitious shots. A clear eye opener to the team’s thought process. For the first time, New Zealand are playing like the hosts and are on the verge of their first World Cup win over the trans-Transman rivals in Australia. The big win will also give a healthy net run rate that could prove crucial in the end of the group stage. After 15 overs, Australia are 97/7, the score New Zealand made in 10 overs with the loss of just one wicket. No comparison.

New Zealand in total control

New Zealand have tightened their screws on the contest and clearly have a complete control of the match. At the halfway stage, Australia are 62/4, in comparison New Zealand were 97/1. Maxwell and Tim David have a real difficult task as they have to keep the runs going, a required of over 13 per over, and also not lose any wicket. But still Australia have the firepower to come back. Next five overs will set the tone.

Australia’s urgency puts them in a spot of bother

Australia are in a spot of bother after failing to play common-sense cricket, chasing a big target of 201. The openers David Warner and skipper Aaron Finch were trying to finish the game quickly even before it started and were dismissed due to their over-ambitious approach. Though Warner was a shade unlucky to have the ball ricochete to the stumps, Mitchel Marsh, on the other hand, failed to capitalise on his lucky break. The Australian all-rounder was beaten by a slower one, off Tim Southee and the ball brushed the off stumps, but failed to dislodge the bails, but Marsh skied the next ball to long-on, playing almost a similar shot off a similar slower one to be caught by Jimmy Neesham. After the powerplay six overs, Australia are 37 for three and now a lot depends on the partnership between Glenn Maxwell and Marcos Stoinis.

Conway gives New Zealand a stiff target to defend

Devon Conway’s sublime innings and Allen’s quickfire knock took New Zealand to 200 for three, the Black Caps’ highest Twnety20 World Cup score on good batting Sydney Cricket Ground pitch in the opening match on Sunday.

The opening match between the 2021 finalists assumes great importance as the winning start will give the team a big advantage in the Group of Death with England, Afghanistan, Ireland and Sri Lanka, all Test-playing nations in Group 1.

Conway, who averages 52-plus in Twenty20 internationals, once again proved why he is such a dangerous player in the shortest format. The left-hander played the smart cricket that was required on the big Australian grounds, not taking too many risks. Conway always looked to hit a four or a six off the first ball of an over and managed to achieve it more often than not, that puts the bowlers on the backfoot straight away. The 33-year-old opener, who has a highest score of 99 not out in Twenty20 Internationals, tried to play more ground strokes and rotated the strike by running hard to once again end unbeaten on 92.

New Zealand were in control of the game until the mid-way mark, but Australia, with the support of 40,000 fans, pulled them back in the overs between 10 and 15, when only 47 runs were scored off 30 balls. But the Black Caps found the extra gear towards the end to score 103 in the last 10 overs, the last ball six by Jimmy Neesham, who remained unbeaten on 26 off 13 balls, managing to take New Zealand to the 200-run mark on a surface that has been true right from the beginning until the end of the New Zealand innings. Conway might have missed his first century again, but h has done his part to perfection.

Australia need a good start, especially opener David Warner needs to play a long innings to keep the hosts in the chase, despite the defending champions batting running very deep.

Australia halt New Zealand’s progress

Australiia have put the breaks on New Zealand with some intelligent bowling changes and the untimely wicket of Williamson has played into the hands of the defending champions. The last five overs, when New Zealand should have increased their tempo, has fetched only 47 runs in 30 balls, and after 15 overs, Black Caps are 144/2. Devon Conway needs to play till the end as it is not easy for the new batters to play their shots straight away when the ball has lost its shine and gripping slightly. The New Zealand opener, who has an average of 52.27, notched up his seventh half-century and is batting on 70 and has been really severe on leg-spinner Adam Zampa, hitting him at will. Australia will be targeting his wicket. Zampa has probably one of the most expensive spells, with 39 for one wicket in his four overs.

Advantage New Zealand at mid-way mark

New Zealand have positioned themselves well at the mid-point to launch an offensive after reaching 97 for 1 in 10 overs with Devon Convoy on 42 and skipper Kane Williamson on 12. The left-right combination has made it difficult for the Australian bowlers to continuously after the line and length and thereby giving easy runs. Australia need to get a couple of wickets in the next few overs, otherwise they will be chasing a target of around 200, but the wicket is perfect for batting and now spin or seam movement.

Finn Allen gives New Zealand a brisk start

The 23-year-old Finn Allen, thrust into the big stage, took the attack to the Australians to give New Zealand a breezy start in the first match of the 2022 T20 World Cup. The right-handed opener, who has an average of 26.05 but a strike-rate of 160 plus made full use of the poweplay overs to take New Zealand 56 in over overs and was out bowled by Josh Hazlewood after a 16-ball 42. New Zealand were 65 for one after six overs. The start is extremely important due to the constant threat of rain affecting the game, though it looks clear at this time.

By A.K.S. Satish, Sports Editor

Dubai: Defending champions Australia start as one of the favourites for the Twenty20 World Cup beginning at Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. It is a repeat of last year’s final between the trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand and the Kiwis have track record of throwing surprises in big events.

So it will be a tricky start for Australia, but, the defending champions are impossible to beat at home and have a brilliant record. Australia have also been bolstered by the new additions and should be getting their first points today. But they will do well by not taking New Zealand lightly.

Australian skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to field. New Zealand leave out Bracewell and Milne. Ferguson has recovered sufficiently from an ab strain that had kept him out of the tri-series in Christchurch.

Australia face New Zealand in the T20 World Cup today. Image Credit: Supplied

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (capt), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Kane Williamson (capt), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.