Power hitters Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell propelled Australia to a convincing seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first tri-series Twenty20 match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Lynn (44 runs from 33 balls) and Maxwell (40 not out from 24 balls) shared in a scorching 77-run stand from just 53 balls to steer Australia to the rain-reduced total of 95 from 15 overs with 21 balls to spare.
Despite a top-order wobble, in which captain David Warner and debutant D’Arcy Short fell inside the first three overs, the belligerent power of Lynn and Maxwell swamped the Kiwi bowling attack.
“We haven’t had a lot of success in T20 cricket and to get a win at the start of the tri-series is very good for us and builds some confidence within the team,” Maxwell said. “It could have gone either way with two wickets down in the early powerplay and we were able to still play positively and play to our strengths.”
Australia’s victory was earlier set up by towering paceman Billy Stanlake whose fierce pace justified Warner’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss, as he wrecked New Zealand’s top order with three wickets in the space of his first eight balls.
Stanlake startled Colin Munro with his high bounce for debutant wicketkeeper Alex Carey to race out to point to complete the catch.
Martin Guptill was then flummoxed next ball by a perfect-length seamer that flicked the top of off stump.
Stanlake narrowly missed his hat-trick as Tom Bruce clipped an attempted yorker through the leg side for three.
“I don’t want to put a ceiling on how fast I can bowl,” Stanlake told Channel Nine. “I want to push harder each year and hopefully I can keep doing that as my body matures.”
Andrew Tye claimed four wickets as Australia restricted New Zealand to a below-par 117 for nine off their 20 overs.
Tye mopped up the Kiwi tail to finish with four wickets for 23, while towering paceman Stanlake claimed three wickets inside the powerplay to dismantle the Kiwis’ top order.
Australia had New Zealand at 60 for five before Colin de Grandhomme hit an unbeaten 38 from 24 balls with three sixes and a four.
De Grandhomme launched two massive sixes off leg-spinner Adam Zampa with the Black Caps managing just four sixes in the entire innings.
Stanlake, who has had a storming Big Bash League season for the Adelaide Strikers, underlined why he is one of the hottest prospects in the country and has been locked up on a Cricket Australia central contract.
Tye’s first wicket owed much to Warner’s catch, running backwards to make the grab and remove Kiwi captain Kane Williamson for eight from 21 balls.
Australia play England in the second match of the tri-series in Hobart on Wednesday.