| Australia’s Nathan Bracken reacts after dismissing New Zealand’s Chris Nevin with the day’s second ball in Faridabad on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Faridabad: Australia put their one-day tri-series campaign on track with an eight-wicket demolition of New Zealand in a one-sided encounter here on Wednesday.
After skittling out New Zealand, who opted to bat, for 97 in 33.4 overs, the world champions overhauled the target in just 16.4 overs for their first win of the tournament. They had lost to India in their opener in Gwalior on Sunday.
Adam Gilchrist scored a quickfire 29 off 18 balls and Matthew Hayden a 53-ball 51 as Australia made a mockery of their Trans-Tasman rivals who have now lost ten of the 11 matches at neutral venues to the Aussies.
This was the third instance when the Black Caps failed to go past the hundred mark against the Aussies and their total was also the lowest-ever at Faridabad, the previous lowest being India’s 177 against the West Indies in 1994-95.
Brad Williams claimed his career-best four for 22 though left-arm seamer Nathan Bracken was more effective, capturing three for 25 as the duo wrecked the New Zealand top-order in a destructive opening spell.
Australia now have seven points and are behind India at eight. New Zealand gained three points from the abandoned series opener against India in Chennai.
Australia, who had to bat for eight overs before the lunch break, were off to a flier. Gilchrist and Hayden launched the reply with a flourish racing to 47 in six overs.
Gilchrist departed for an 18-ball 29 but not before he had entertained a packed crowd with a flurry of five fours and a huge six. Hayden was his usual aggressive self today as he displayed some brilliant shots. His unbeaten 51 contained seven boundaries and a six as the New Zealand new-ball bowlers went through their motions knowing well the futility of it all.
The Black Caps were in trouble from the start after skipper Stephen Fleming made a surprise decision to bat first on a pitch that offered a lot of movement and bounce.
Fleming had mentioned in his pre-match press conference that early morning moisture would help the seamers. His predictions came true as Bracken and Williams, later named the Man-of-the-Match, exploited the conditions to the hilt and had the opposition reeling at 21 for five in the ninth over of the innings.
Had it not been for the 52-run sixth wicket partnership between Craig McMillan (24) and Chris Harris (14), and the huge number of Extras (32), their innings might have folded up even earlier.
Bracken struck in his first over removing Chris Nevin for a duck.