AUCKLAND, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Australia claimed the trans-Tasman Twenty20 tri-series after Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch helped secure a 19-run win against New Zealand under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in the rain-affected final on Friday.
Maxwell scored 20 while Finch was 18 not out as they combined for 37 runs after Australia had lost three quick wickets in the middle of their innings to give the hosts and their fans at Eden Park slim hopes of an upset victory.
The Australians, who won all five of their matches in the series that also included England, were 121 for three when they were forced off for rain for the second time during their innings. They had restricted New Zealand to 150 for nine.
“Right from the get go we played superb cricket,” Australia captain David Warner said. “I just asked the guys to execute with energy in everything we did and they have.
“People talk about us not taking T20 seriously, but this bunch have come... with superb form and I couldn’t be prouder of the guys.
“It proves the great depth in Australia cricket.”
Both sides had scored more than 240 runs each on the same pitch last Friday, but Australia ensured that would not happen again as they bowled a fuller length, cleverly changed their pace and set up the victory.
The hosts had actually got off to flying start with Martin Guptill (21) and Colin Munro (29) smashing 48 from 4.3 overs before their dismissals in the space of five balls robbed the innings of momentum.
New Zealand were unable to establish any partnerships until they had been reduced to 110 for eight with 6.2 overs remaining. Ross Taylor (43 not out) and Ish Sodhi then put on 38 to ensure they saw out their full compliment.
Left arm-spinner Ashton Agar, who ripped the heart out of New Zealand’s middle order, was man-of-the match after he finished with three for 27.
Australia’s run chase was not affected by an injury to batsman Chris Lynn, who dislocated his right shoulder while diving in the field.
The 27-year-old has had three surgeries on his left shoulder and appeared to be protecting it in his dive but landed awkwardly, jarred his right shoulder and was immediately assisted from the field and taken to hospital for scans.
“His shoulder was able to be put back into place at the ground and he was consequently sent for X-Rays which revealed no major bone injury,” Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in a statement.
“At this stage Chris will not travel to the Pakistan Super League in Dubai.
“He will return to Brisbane to undergo further scans and assessment and from there we will have a better understanding of the ongoing management, along with the return to play timeframes.”
Openers D’Arcy Short (50) and Warner (25) put on 72 runs to set the foundation before they fell in quick succession, but Finch and Maxwell settled the innings down to ensure victory after rain forced them off after 14.4 overs.
“We didn’t assess as well as we could have,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said. “The wicket was quite different from the last game and I think another 20 runs could have made it competitive.
“But congratulations to David and his team they deserved to win.” (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)