Christchurch [New Zealand], February 22 (ANI): New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Monday lauded batsman Devon Conway as he played an unbeaten knock of 99 off 59 balls to power his side to 184/5 against Australia in the first T20I here at the Hagley Oval. New Zealand thrashed Australia by 53 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match T20I series.
If Conway starred with the bat for New Zealand, it was an all-round bowling performance from the hosts that saw them clinch the game. Australia had reduced New Zealand to 19/3 before Conway unleashed the beast within himself to hammer an unbeaten 99.
The visitors never looked comfortable in the chase and kept losing wickets at regular intervals only to get dismissed for 131. For New Zealand, Sodhi picked four while Boult and Southee scalped two wickets each.
"It was an incredible knock. We had a tough start with the bat and to see those partnerships in the middle led by Devon, unbelievable knock. To get 99 on a surface that was not easy to start on and we also saw a little bit of swing in our innings as well. It was a great effort to get us to the 180-mark. We have seen a lot of breaks in recent times so it was exciting to get back together and play cricket," Williamson said after the match.
"We would like to do better moving forward but it was an incredible effort with the ball. There was a bit of dew, it swung a bit and we weren't expecting that. Obviously, a significant day, ten years (since the earthquake at Christchurch) and there are a number of people that came to the memorial today. We are happy to put on a performance for the people tonight," he added.
Chasing 185 runs, Australia got off to the worst possible start as Tim Southee and Trent Boult both struck in their first overs. Southee ensured Finch's lean patch continued while Boult dismissed Josh Philippe in the second over. Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell too didn't bother the scorers much and were soon in the dugout after Boult and Southee again wreaked havoc to reduce Australia to 19/4.
Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis tried rescuing Australia from the precarious position but spinner Ish Sodhi joined the party. Sodhi came out firing on all cylinders and first broke the partnership of 37 runs between Marsh and Stonis and then dismissed Ashton Agar and Daniel Sams in the same over. (ANI)