New Zealand thrash Australia by 53 runs in first T20
New Zealand's Devon Conway bats during the first Twenty20 between New Zealand and Australia at Hagley Park Oval in Christchurch on February 22, 2021. AFP
Devon Conway inspired New Zealand to a 53-run win over Australia in the opening Twenty20 international in Christchurch on Monday.
Conway smashed an unbeaten 99 off 59 balls as the Black Caps overcame a shaky start to finish on 184 for five after losing the toss and being put in to bat.
In reply, Australia were all out for 131 after 17.3 overs, with Black Caps spinner Ish Sodhi taking four wickets for 28
Jhye Richardson, fresh from signing a multi-million dollar Indian Premier League contract, was the pick of the Australian bowlers, taking two for 31.
But the tourists could not dislodge Conway, whose 59-ball knock included 10 fours and three sixes, helping the Black Caps bounce back from 19 for three.
Australia suffered a horror show early in their innings, as seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult tore through the top order.
Luckless debutant Josh Philippe departed for two after sending a top-edge skyward.
But old campaigners such as skipper Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell also failed to deal with the swinging ball and the tourists were soon four for 19.
Mitch Marsh top-scored with 45 and Ashton Agar contributed 23 a string of batting failures gave New Zealand a comfortable win.
Devon Conway was named the Player of the Match for his 99 not out.
Conway said: "I think I just got myself in and ran hard between wickets. I was pretty happy with how it went tonight. You've just got to ride that form wave as long as you can. It's about momentum and keeping that momentum."
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson added: "An incredible knock from Devon. It was obviously a tough start with the bat and Devon led us back on a surface that wasn't all that easy to start on. It was just perhaps holding a little bit. An incredible knock. There's still a number of things we would like to do a little bit better. The bowlers were outstanding. It swung a little bit and Tim and Trent were at their best."
Australian skipper Aaron Finch commented: "We didn't play our best tonight. New Zealand played well. Devon Conway well and truly deserved a hundred. They're tough to come by in T20s and he played an absolutely great knock. I thought they built a great partnership and their foundation was through their running between wickets. We didn't get it right. It nipped and swung a bit under lights."