By Jim Birchall
The Blackcaps summer of consistency across all formats came to a shuddering halt Saturday in Sydney.
Towering Paceman Billy Stanlake ripped the heart out of New Zealand’s top order, removing Colin Munro after the combative left-hander swiped across the line, Tom Bruce with a well-directed bouncer he failed to keep down, and a jaffa that kissed the top of Martin Guptill’s off stump.
Kane Williamson looked a shadow of himself on an SCG pitch offering too much, as he plodded his way to 8 off 21 balls, with the captain admitting post-match he had ‘things to work on’ in the T20 format.
Ross Taylor also looked incapable of raising the rate, absorbing 35 balls for his 24. Colin De Grandhomme averted total disaster with a typically muscular 38 not out from 24, as the Blackcaps limped to an uncompetitive 117.
The heavens opened during the innings break, and for a while, a Steve McQueen-Esque great escape beckoned for New Zealand.
The precipitation was short-lived, however, and after the intervention of messers Duckworth&Lewis, Australia were set a very gettable 95 from 15 overs.
Early wobbles saw debutant D’arcy Short and Captain David Warner fall to cross bat heaves, and Williamson and his charges felt an inkling of the unthinkable on a ground they have not won at since 2002.
Those hopes were soon dashed as the Lynnsanity started, the colossal hitting Queenslander dispatching the usually parsimonious Mitchell Santner to all parts. Glenn Maxwell joined him and the rifle&curtain was brought out for the racehorse before the end of the twelfth over.
The Blackcaps next play England at the cake tin on 13th, after the Australia and England lock horns twice on the weekend.