Aaron Finch, the white ball captain of Australia, finally showed signs of shrugging off a prolonged spell of poor form as he slammed a half-century as Ashton Agar took six wickets as Australia claimed a 64-run win over New Zealand in Wellington on Wednesday to keep their Twenty20 series alive.
Finch, who formed one of the most dreaded opening partnerships in limited overs cricket with David Warner, had been having a quiet time since competitive cricket began and failed to impress the management of IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore who released him ahead of last auction. Surprisingly enough, there were no takers for the seasoned pro even at a base price in the auctions in February.
Australia clawed their way back to 2-1 in the five-match series at a closed Wellington Regional Stadium following defeats in Christchurch and Dunedin.
Fired by 69 from Finch, his best score in two years, and a 31-ball 70 from Glenn Maxwell, Australia put an imposing 208 for four on the board before, led by a dominant display by left-arm spinner Agar (6-30), bundling New Zealand out for 144.
Paceman Riley Meredith replaced Daniel Sams in Australia’s only change from Dunedin and grabbed 2-24 on an impressive international debut that included trapping New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lbw for nine.
Agar’s match-turning six for 30, including three in one over, derailed a New Zealand fightback as Australia avoided a series loss. The Black Caps lacked the swagger of the opening two matches, with shellshocked all-rounder Jimmy Neesham conceding 28 runs in a single over as Maxwell ran riot.