Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Oct 28: In the familiar Trans-Tasman rivalry on a different battlefield, Australia once again overcame a solid resistance from New Zealand, and managed to post a 5-run win in the ODI World Cup, here on Saturday.
Chasing a stiff target of 389, the Kiwis scored 383/9 at the Eden Gardens, here. If comeback Aussie opener Travis Head scored an impressive 109 in the first innings, it was young Rachin Ravindra's 89-ball 116 that prompted the Black Caps to put up a challenge till the final over of the match.
Apart from Ravindra, James Neesham scored a valiant 58 to keep alive the Kiwis hopes till the final over. New Zealand needed 19 runs in the last over, but ended up gathering 13 and lost the target by a whisker.
After Neesham was run out in the penultimate ball of the day after a superb 58 in 39 balls, the spirited fight by the Black Caps was almost over before the final ball was bowled by Mitchell Starc. Reason, it was too challenging for the No 11 Lockie Ferguson to hit a six off the only ball he faced in the match.
Earlier, put into bat, Australia piled up 388/10 in 49.2 overs. Chasing 389, the Kiwis openers did begin well, but only for a brief span. After a counterattack 28 in just 17 balls, flamboyant Devon Conway departed, being caught at short fine leg by Mitchell Starc off right arm pacer Josh Hazlewood.
The other New Zealand opener Will Young too fell to the Starc-Hazlewood combination, after making a well constructed 32 in 37 balls. He had to go after giving a simple catch to Starc at third-man and in the process Hazlewood scalped two wickets in the first power play.
After stabilising the New Zealand innings for quite some time, Daryl Mitchell (51 in 54 balls with six boundaries and one 6), too returned back offering a catch to Mitchell Starc, as leggie Adam Zampa struck. Starc had a different triple success, not as a bowler, but as a fielder who held three consecutive catches to send back the Kiwis top order.
Skipper and keeper Tom Latham after scoring run-a-ball 21, trying to reverse sweep Zampa, departed offering a top edge catch to Hazlewood at short third-man.
Rachin Ravindra continued his golden run in the tournament and scored yet another century.
However, after giving Ravindra company for some time, Glenn Philips (12 in 16 balls) fell prey to man with a golden arm - Glenn Maxwell. Marnus Labuschagne did well to hold on to a backward running catch at mid off to send Philips back.
Earlier, in the 27th match of the ICC ODI World Cup at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium, here Australia proved once again that given an opportunity they can dazzle against any opposition on any surface.
Trying to keep alive their semi-finals hopes, the most successful and consistent side in world cricket in the white-ball format, the Aussies batted with aggression and positive temperament right from the start.
The highlight of the Australian innings was the dangerous lefty opener Travis Head's comeback game, which he celebrated with a super ton. Returning from a long injury lay-off, Head scored a hurricane 67-ball 109 with 10 boundaries and 7 huge sixes.
David Warner too continued his fine form in the championship with an attacking 81. Mitchell Marsh (36), Josh Inglis (38) and captain Pat Cummins (37) too played useful knocks.
To accommodate Head at the top order, Marsh, Steven Smith (18) and Marnus Labuschagne (18) were demoted down the order. The three big boys though got starts but could not convert the same to big scores.
However, last match's hero big-hitting Glenn Maxwell proved again how he can demolish any bowling attack if he gets going. Maxwell hit an impressive 41 in 24 balls.
Among the New Zealand bowlers, Trent Boult and Glenn Philips shared three wickets each. Mitchell Santner scalped two, while Matt Henry and James Neesham claimed one wicket each.
Australia 388/10 in 49.2 overs; New Zealand 383/9 in 50 overs.
Australia won by 5 runs.
Player of the Match: Travis Head.