Australia beat arch-rivals New Zealand by 86 runs in their ICC World Cup 2019 at Lord’s on Saturday, making the path to the semi-finals for the Kiwis all the more tough.
Choosing to bat first after Aaron Finch won the toss, Australia managed 243 which turned out to be enough on a track that became progressively tougher to bat on.
New Zealand’s openers made a steady start yet just as they were looking to accelerate the scoring, Henry Nicholls (8) edged a bouncer from Jason Behrendorff going down leg side and wicket-keeper Alex Carey did the rest.
Martin Guptill departed shortly thereafter, with Behrendorff trapping him plumb in front of the stumps to send him back for 20.
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor briefly steadied the ship with a 57-run stand for the third wicket but once Mitchell Starc got rid of Williamson and Pat Cummins accounted for Taylor, the writing was on the wall.
From that point, the Kiwis lost their last 6 wickets for 39 runs with none of the remaining players offering much in the way of resistance.
Starc accounted for Tom Latham before running through the lower order, almost scooping up a hat-trick in the process. He finished with figures of 5-26.
Earlier, Usman Khawaja anchored Australia’s recovery following a top-order collapse with a composed 88 to take the score to 243-9 before becoming a victim of Trent Boult as the New Zealander completed a hat-trick.
Australia, who beat New Zealand in the 2015 final, slumped to 92-5 before Khawaja and Carey (71) revived the innings with a stand of 107 to give their powerful attack a defendable total on a used pitch proving difficult for batsmen.
Khawaja was bowled in the final over by left-arm quick Boult to end a 129-ball innings featuring just five fours.
Boult then bowled Starc and dismissed Behrendorff lbw with a yorker, although his hat-trick celebrations were delayed by a desperate review.
It was the first hat-trick by a New Zealander at a World Cup and the second of the tournament after India’s Mohammed Shami achieved the feat against Afghanistan.
Boult finished with 4-51 at a sun-drenched Lord’s after he had earlier removed Australia captain Aaron Finch, who won the toss.
Australia’s first-wicket pair have been central to their success at this World Cup, with Finch and David Warner having scored 657 runs together in eight matches, including Saturday’s fixture, at an average of 82.12.
But it was a different story against the Black Caps, with both Finch (8) and Warner (16) dismissed cheaply.
Smith fell for five after Guptill held a sensational diving catch off the bowling of Lockie Ferguson.
Warner and Smith were booed on and off the field following their recent return to international cricket after they were both banned for 12 months for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal.
Jimmy Neesham then struck twice to reduce Australia to 92-5. The collapse allowed Khawaja to bat in his usual style without fear of being criticised for slow scoring.
Fellow left-hander Carey added impetus, hitting 11 fours in 72 balls before he holed out off Williamson’s occasional off-spin.