Finch takes game from New Zealand in stunning over
Four Aaron Finch sixes in one spectacular over catapulted Australia to a game four victory over New Zealand in their five-game Twenty20 series on Friday night.
The Australian skipper hit 26 runs off Kyle Jamieson’s final over of Australia’s innings to post 79 not out off 55 balls as his side set the Black Caps 157 to win, they could only score 106 all out in response.
Finch has now played two consecutive match-changing innings and both have led to Australian wins, with the series tied 2-2 heading into a deciding game five in Wellington on Sunday.
Blustery conditions in Wellington and a tricky wicket kept causing issues for the batsmen on both sides, so Finch’s decision to knuckle down for much of the innings turned the match in his country’s favour.
Australia’s spinners turned the screws on the Black Caps, who never looked a chance of chasing the total with Aston Agar (2-11), Glenn Maxwell (2-14) and Adam Zampa (2-14) all taking wickets.
For 19 of Australia’s 20 overs with the bat, the Black Caps were in charge.
Finch batted like the leader his nation desperately needed. He didn’t hit a boundary between the fourth over and the 13th over as he hit singles and protected his wicket, setting the stage for his last over flurry.
Left-arm seamer Trent Boult (2-27) was good value in his overs claiming the dangerous Maxwell and Agar while spinner Mitchell Santner (1-16) cast a shadow over the visiting batsman with stingy bowling.
Then in the final over Finch took to towering quick Jamieson and in the process turned a low score of 130 into a highly competitive total of 6-156.
Finch hit three of his four final over sixers through the off-side after Jamieson tried to bowl wide yorkers but over-pitched.
For a batsman who has supposedly been in a form slump, Finch returned to his swashbuckling, power-hitting best, showing the full blade to the ball and sending it 10 or more rows back.
Agar gave Australia a great start with just one run from the first over with Finch staying with the clean-shaven spinner, who continued to subdue the Black Caps in the third and fifth overs conceding just seven runs.
Martin Guptill eventually held out to him driving him to the high but only finding Maxwell who caught the ball, tossed it up and then jumped back into the field of play and completed the catch.
The Aussies kept their bowling tight and the Black Caps saw their task become harder and harder with the pressure finally turning into a wicket when Kane Richardson made the ball rise up and dangerous opener Tim Seifert (19 off 28 balls) knocked it down into the stumps to leave his side 2-34.
Agar’s success saw Maxwell thrust into the attack and his off-spinners soon claimed superstar Kane Williamson, who spooned the ball up and was caught by Mitch Marsh. It all but ended their hopes.
Australia plays New Zealand in Wellington for game five of the series on Sunday at 10am AEDT.
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