Australia have clinched the Trans-Tansman Twenty 20 tri-series after defeating New Zealand in a rain-disrupted final at Eden Park in Auckland.
Darren Lehmann’s side won by 19 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method after a second downpour brought play to a close with 5.1 overs remaining.
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar put in a man-of-the-match bowling performance for the Australians, who now become the number one ranked side in Twenty20 cricket.
The anticlimactic final win for Australia was however tinged by another injury to Queensland batsman Chris Lynn.
New Zealand’s Colin Munro and Martin Guptill threatened to put the hosts into a commanding position by hitting five fours and a six in the first three overs, but the hosts were unable to replicate the explosive scoring of last Friday where they posted a score of 243 against Australia at the same ground.
It was exceptional bowling that proved to be their undoing as Australia, led by Agar’s 3-27, ensured the Black Caps were restricted to 150-9.
Australia captain David Warner will take the plaudits for his 16 bowling changes during the game, bringing success on a ground known normally better suited to those with the bat.
New Zealand innings started brightly before Guptill came unstuck on 21 against pace bowler Billy Stanlake, shortly followed by Munro who was felled by Kane Richardson for 29. This allowed Agar to sweep through the middle order with Ross Taylor the only home batsman to score over 30 with a score of 43.
Chris Lynn dislocated his shoulder midway through the New Zealand innings after diving for a ball near mid-wicket, but in spite of his loss Australia went on to calmly chased down the modest run target.
Left hander D’Arcy Short hit 50 from 28 balls as he and Captain David Warner took Lehmann’s side to 72-0.
A brief rain delay proved to be the precursor to a flurry of Black Cap wickets, as Short hit out to long-on and Warner was felled by a quick ball from leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.
Agar was unexpectedly pushed up the batting order to third but he didn’t hang around for long as he fell quickly after his captain.
It looked as though momentum was swinging towards the hosts, but Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch steadied the ship, taking Australia to 100 by the 13th over before finishing on 121-3 as rain fatally struck for a second time.
The result means Australia end the series undefeated, following five convincing victories against the New Zealanders and England.