Australia’s bowlers have it all to do after Aaron Finch anchored a late-firing innings of 6-156 in the fourth T20 international against New Zealand in Wellington.
In a match they must win to keep the series alive for Sunday’s final match, Australia waited 19 overs before putting their foot on the gas.
In the final over, Finch smashed four sixes off Kyle Jamieson to move Australia’s total from unconvincing to defendable.
Finch top-scored with 79 off 55, playing a supportive hand early to successive partners – except they kept getting out.
In blustery conditions and on a turning wicket, Matthew Wade (14), Josh Philippe (13), Glenn Maxwell (18) and Marcus Stoinis (19) were all caught trying to up the run rate.
Ashton Agar, in at six ahead of Mitch Marsh, looked at sea and was bowled for a third-ball duck, with Marsh following shortly after for six.
At that point, Finch realised the innings was on his bat, upping his strike rate beyond 100.
He moved past the absent Dave Warner to become Australia’s all-time leading T20 international run scorer before raising his bat for a half-century.
With six balls to go, Australia was on 6-130, before Finch blasted his side to a competitive score.
His crunched two sixes over extra cover, another over long-on and the final ball of the innings over midwicket for a much-needed 26 to close the innings.
Aside from Jamieson, who finished with 0-49, the Black Caps had plenty of strong contributors with the ball.
Ish Sodhi, the series’ leading wicket taker, claimed 3-32 and Trent Boult was sharp with 2-27.
Returning from a cold that sidelined him from game three, Mitchell Santner impressed with 1-16 from four overs – keeping the ball out of Jimmy Neesham’s hands after his 0-60 on Wednesday.