New Zealand beat Australia by one wicket

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Auckland, Feb 28 (IANS) In a cricket World Cup match between the co-hosts, New Zealand registered a thrilling one-wicket victory over Trans-Tasman rivals Australia in a Pool A encounter at the Eden Park here Saturday.

Pacer Trent Boult (5/27) helped New Zealand bowl Australia out for 151 after the latter opted to bat first.

In the New Zealand innings, skipper Brendon McCullum (24-ball 50) provided a sparkling start but left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc (6/28) helped the Australians pull things back.

However, young batsman Kane Williamson (not out 45) and Corey Anderson (26) helped New Zealand cross the line with one wicket and 26.5 overs to spare.

With this win, New Zealand recorded their fourth straight win in the World Cup. They have won against Sri Lanka, Scotland and England in their previous matches.

Earlier, Australian skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat. His decision proved to be correct till the initial few overs but after that they fell apart losing wickets at regular intervals.

Pacer Tim Southee broke Aaron Finch’s (14) defence in the third over. David Warner (34) and under-firing Shane Watson (23) then forged a 50-run stand — but veteran left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori broke the partnership dismissing Watson with the score at 80/2 in 13 overs.

In the first ball of the next over, Southee then removed Warner who was looking settled. And after losing the third wicket, Australia failed to recover.

Vettori compounded their problem as he dismissed in-form Steven Smith (4) before Boult dealt a double-blow in the form of Glenn Maxwell (1) and Mitchell Marsh (0).

Skipper clark (12), playing his first match after recovering from an ankle injury, could not contribute much as he offered a catch to Williamson off Boult to leave the team reeling at 104/7.

Left-armer Boult removed Mitchell Johnson (1) and Starc (0) to take his first five-wicket haul in One-Day International (ODI) cricket. Brad Haddin (43) waged a lone battle for Australia but they were dismissed for 151 in 32.2 overs.

While defending the small target, Australian bowlers were belted all around the park by the 33-year-old McCullum. With the help of three sixes and seven fours, he raced to his 28th half-century.

Pat Cummins removed the McCullum threat with the batsman offering an easy catch to Starc at mid-off when New Zealand were 78/2 in 7.4 overs.

After dismissing opener Martin Guptill (11), Starc ran through the middle order. He scalped experienced Ross Taylor (1) and seasoned Grant Elliot (0) to leave the home-side reeling at 79/4 in 8.2 overs.

Young all-rounder Anderson joined Williamson in the middle and the duo stitched a 52-run partnership for the fifth wicket before off-spinner Maxwell accounted for the former. Cummins, meanwhile, took the wicket of Vettori (2).

Still needing 21 runs, New Zealand batsmen fell to the pace and swing generated by Starc. Wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi (6), Adam Milne (0) and Southee (0) perished against Starc and the hosts tottered at 146/9.

However, the 24-year-old Williamson, playing in his 69th ODI, mixed caution with aggression to see the New Zealand home.

Brief scores: Australia 151 all out in 32.2 overs (Brad Haddin 43; Trent Boult 5/21, Daniel Vettori 2-41), New Zealand 152/9 in 23.1 overs (Brendon McCullum 50, Kane Williamson not out 45; Mitchell Starc 6/28, Pat Cummins 2/38). New Zealand win by one wicket.

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