Clinical New Zealand thump Australia at T20 World Cup
SYDNEY: New Zealand thrashed hosts and defending champions Australia by 89 runs on Saturday to start the Twenty20 World Cup Super 12 in style and avenge defeat in last year's final.
Devon Conway carried his bat with a majestic unbeaten 92 to help New Zealand blast 200-3 before Australia were skittled for 111 in the 18th over to make a nightmare start to their title defence.
Conway's knock came from just 58 balls with seven fours and two sixes, joining a select group to make 90 or more at a World Cup. Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee both took three wickets each.
It was New Zealand's first win against Australia in Australia in any format since 2011.
"It was one of those days, an outstanding day," captain Kane Williamson purred.
"The openers set the tone, lots of contributions right through the batting and that was a very good score on this pitch," said Williamson.
"The bowlers then did well and were well supported in the field. Everyone knows their roles in this team, we knew about the quality of their bowling, took the game deep and we were very clinical in what we needed to do."
The match at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground was a repeat of the 2021 final in Dubai when Australia powered to an eight-wicket win and maiden crown.
Aaron Finch's men now have their work cut out to match that feat in a tough Group 1 with Afghanistan, England and qualifiers Ireland and Sri Lanka awaiting them. Only the top two make the semi-finals.
"They (New Zealand openers) set the tone in the first four overs and we didn't recover," said skipper Finch.
"We needed early wickets, which didn't happen, and when we chased, we lost too many wickets.
"We weren't good enough, with the net run-rate taking a bad hit.
"We play Sri Lanka next, four games left, need to win everything and have some luck on our side."
New Zealand got off to a sensational start after Finch sent them in to bat, with Finn Allen cracking two fours and a six off Mitchell Starc's opening over.
Not to be outdone, Conway then crunched two blistering boundaries off Josh Hazlewood as the Black Caps plundered 29 from the first two overs.
Adam Zampa dropped Allen in the next over as Pat Cummins was similarly punished, taken for 17.
But the young right-hander's luck ran out when Hazlewood returned and the wily pace spearhead bowled him for 42 -- off just 16 balls.
The introduction of Marcus Stoinis and Zampa helped Australia stem the run flow, but Conway brought up his 50 with a six off the spinner Zampa, who trapped Williamson (23) lbw in the same over.
Hazlewood removed Glenn Phillips for 12 before Jimmy Neesham hit a six off the final ball to reach 200.
Conway said credit had to go to the 23-year-old Allen.
"He's a young guy and he's fearless," he said. "The way Finn plays complements my game."
Australia's chase started badly when David Warner fell for three in the second over, dragging the ball onto his stumps off Southee.
Finch (13) hit a giant six off Trent Boult but didn't last much longer, striking Santner straight to Williamson at cover as his miserable form continued.
It was a similar story for Mitchell Marsh, briefly hitting big to make 16 before being caught by Neesham going for another slog to leave Australia teetering at 34-2 in the fifth over.
Phillips pulled off one of the catches of the tournament so far to remove Stoinis for seven, leaping full length to his left as he ran from deep cover.
And when the big-hitting Tim David, preferred to Steve Smith, became Santner's third wicket, out for 11, it was all but over at 68-5 in the 11th over.
Matthew Wade (two) and Glenn Maxwell (28) were their last hope with the tailenders offering little resistance for the outclassed hosts.