Mitchell Starc was the reason of a thriller between Australia and New Zealand on this day. Thanks to him that a comfortable chase became almost impossible for the kiwis. 

On February 28, 2015, Australia and New Zealand played one of the most thrilling World Cup ties at Eden Park, Auckland. Both the teams had a good start to the tournament and the tournament was moving towards the business end as the league positions and qualifying scenarios were taking shapes. New Zealand won all three of their matches since then whereas Australia after winning their first match against the old enemies had to content with shared points as their match against Bangladesh was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The Beginning

Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat. They reached 24 in the first two overs. Third over of the match from Tim Southee saw the first ball going for a six and second ball claiming the wicket of Aaron Finch. Shane Watson came and built at 50 runs partnership with David Warner. Australia reached 80 for one when Daniel Vettori and Southee stuck on back-to-back deliveries. 80 for one suddenly became 80 for three. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum brought back Trent Boult and then a procession towards the pavilion started for the mighty Australians. Boult’s swing was too much for the Australian middle order and they had no answer. They lost 8 wickets for 26 runs in this phase and quickly was at 106 for nice. Supported by the vociferous home crowd Boult’s second spell read 5-3-3-5. Brad Haddin showed some fight for Australia and added valuable 45 runs in the last wicket where his contribution was 37. His thick edge went to short third man’s hand and Australian innings was closed at 151.

Image Source – PTI

The Chase

New Zealand came to bat after a 10-minute break as Australian innings was over in the 33rd over. Their response was based on the extreme quick start provided by the skipper McCullum. The chase started with a run rate of 10 runs in the first few overs. McCullum blasted his way to a 21-ball 50. Mitchell Johnson was severely punished as his first 4 overs bleed 52 runs. By the end of seventh over, Kiwis were 72 for one. Almost most half of the required runs were completed and yet it was not a time for the break. Pat Cummins gave the key breakthrough to his team when he got McCullum caught by Mitchell Starc. Starc himself came back to bowl the next over and got Ross Taylor with his first ball. The teams went to break with New Zealand on 79 for three.

It was 79 for four after one ball once the match was resumed. Starc got Grant Elliot right after the break. New Zealand replicated a similar collapse and the match was again on balance. The crowd was on their toes and all the hopes were on the calm stature of Kane Williamson. Williamson got an ally in Corey Anderson and added 52 runs in the fifth wicket. Anderson played a peculiar inning. His first five runs came in 20 balls. At this point, Mitchell Johnson returned for a spell and his first three deliveries were hit for Four, Four and Six by Anderson to take himself to 19 off 23. Then again once he reached 26 of 29 he could not score in the next 12 balls he faced and on the 13th ball he was out trying to slog Glenn Maxwell.

Another 21 runs were required to score with five wickets in hand and plenty of overs to spare, a comfortable scenario for most of the matches.

Twist In The Tale From Mitchell Starc

The comfort was soon gone as Mitchell Starc’s nasty bouncer got rid of Luke Ronchi. Vettori hit one straight to mid on in the next over. With just six runs to go, Starc brought another twist. He bowled Milne and Southee on back to back deliveries and now it was anyone’s game. The hero of first innings Boult came to bat and his first job was to survive two deliveries of Starc who already had six wickets in his name and almost breathing fire. Boult managed to survive with thunderous cheer and it was all depending on Williamson. Will he try to do it himself or will he trust his partner and rotate strike to get these six runs was a million dollar question.

Cummins was the bowler and Kane did not wait. The first delivery of the 24th over was hit for a straight six and with that New Zealand won one of the most thrilling encounters between these two countries. Kane remained not out for 45. Boult was given the man of the match award for his decisive spell in the first innings but McCullum’s innings was also no less important. Australia’s wait for revenge was less than a month when they got the big prize of the World Cup Trophy by beating New Zealand in the final at MCG.

Also Read: On This Day – 27th Feb


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