19 wickets fell in less than 56 overs for a little over 300 runs. That is nearly one wicket for every 15 runs scored in the match. The low scoring thriller saw 13 batsmen scoring less than 7 runs. Australia wilted from 80/1 t0 151 all out and in turn New Zealand did no better. From 78/1 in the 8th over, they barely managed to avoid defeat. The tension at Auckland was so palpable that even a Hitchcock mystery could have faded in comparison. It was the one match of the CWC 2015 that brought the competitive elements between two major sides to their very limits. And these were not the ordinary teams. Apart from being the co-hosts of the 2015 ICC World Cup, Australia and New Zealand are the two highly fancied teams to take the World Cup this time round. There was nothing that the game lacked. Weather was perfect, attendance full and fine batting performances from Warner, Watson, McCullum and Williamson. Between themselves, two bowlers from either side took 11 of the 19 wickets that fell in front of a packed and a highly partisan Auckland crowd. But when the collapse came from both sides in the face of some sensational swing bowling, it brought either a huge roar or a breathtaking silence. But the most breathtaking moment was reserved for Kane Williamson, who lofted Pat Cummins over his head off the last ball of the match. That brought heavenly relief in huge torrents for more than 40,000 people gathered at Auckland’s Eden Park. For once, it looked like a dream but at the end of it all, when the reality sank in, there were fist-pump all round in joyous celebrations.
On the 15th day of the 2015 World Cup, two of the strongest teams, and also the co-hosts, came to face each other for the 20th match of the competition. Michael Clarke returned to the Australian side with George Bailey stepping aside. They also brought in Pat Cummins in place of Josh Hazlewood. The New Zealand side remained unchanged from their last match against England 8 days ago. Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. Aaron Finch and David Warner took their places at the crease and McCullum began with Tim Southee. The first ball from Tim Southee was swinging away on the off-side but Finch still chased it to possibly provide a scoring start for his team. In any case one run accrued as the delivery was called wide. But Finch got 8 runs in the first over; 3 and 1 from running between wickets and 4 from a leg glance. Warner got a single and a high bouncer that sailed over the Australian wicketkeeper fetched 4 byes. 15 in the first over was a great start. In the next over from Trent Boult, Warner top-edged a pull over third man for six and with 3 more runs coming, Australia ended the second over at 24/0. Next over from Southee brought another 12 runs but Finch had lost his wicket. Regardless, 36/1 at the end of 3 looked a fine start. Warner and Watson carried the score to 80 in the 13th over but on the last ball from Daniel Vettori, Watson holed out to deep mid-wicket. This was ominous because off the next ball from Southee’s fresh over, Warner was trapped leg before wicket. Michael Clarke and Steven Smith added 15 runs in 3.1 overs before Smith fell as Vettori’s next victim. From 95/3, Australia lost 6 wickets for the addition just 11 runs to totter at 106/9. Brad Haddin and Pat Cummins denied New Zealand an early finish by a 45 run last-wicket partnership that required Corey Anderson’s introduction in the attack. Otherwise out of 32.2 bowled, 29 were shared by Southee, Boult and Vettori. Australia were bowled out for 151 to give an easy target chase for New Zealand.
The New Zealand innings began in explosive fashion with 40 runs being scored by the 4th over. Brendon McCullum looked his relentless self as he raced to his 50 off just 21 balls with 7 fours and 3 sixes. But the fall of McCullum at 78 opened floodgates as Ross Taylor and Grant Elliot followed him in quick succession. A 52-run fifth wicket stand between Anderson and Williamson propped up the New Zealand side as they reached 131/4. But once Anderson departed at that score, New Zealand began losing wickets. 131/4 became 146/9. What Trent Boult did to Australia, Mitchell Starc did to New Zealand. To a large extent, the batsmen took things for granted and fell to indiscreet shots. Breathing stopped in the audience, who had been vociferous throughout. With flow of runs having stopped, New Zealand stared at defeat from a position of strength. Finally off the first ball of the 24th over, Williamson lofted Cummins over the straight field to fork out the 1-wicket win for his team and bring sighs of relief from everywhere.