Brendon McCullum marked his last one-day international for New Zealand with a match and series victory over Australia today.
McCullum’s farewell seemed likely to be soured by a dramatic batting collapse which saw New Zealand lose its last six wickets for 23 runs to be all out for 246, but the bowlers dismissed Australia for 191 with more than six overs to spare, winning by 55 runs to clinch a 2-1 series victory.
Australia had been on target for victory when on 164-5 but the controversial dismissal of Mitch Marsh exposed the tail and New Zealand’s bowlers quickly wrapped up the win.
Marsh was given out caught and bowled by Matt Henry when his forcing shot hit the toe of his boot and carried to the bowler who took the ball low down.
Neither Henry nor any of the New Zealand fielders appealed, thinking the ball had hit the ground, and it wasn’t until the incident was replayed on the big screen at Seddon Park that spectators saw the ball had come off Marsh’s boot and began to boo.
English umpire Ian Gould then referred it to the third umpire, who gave Marsh out.
But the Australians questioned whether the matter could be referred to replay if none of the New Zealand players appealed and the umpire on the ground had not given a decision.
“It wasn’t until we saw something on the big screen that the decision went upstairs so I was a bit disappointed about that,” Australia captain Steve Smith said.
“He was out, there was no doubt about that, but if I get hit on the pad next time and it’s missing leg do I stand there and wait until it’s going to show that on the big screen.”
McCullum produced a signature innings on his farewell, hitting 47 runs from 27 balls to give New Zealand a bold beginning as it batted after losing the toss. He hit three sixes to lift his tally to 200 sixes in 260 one-day internationals, placing him fourth on the all-time list behind Shahid Afridi (351), Sanath Jayasuriya (270) and Chris Gayle (238).
But after Martin Guptill made 59 and Grant Elliott a laborious 50, New Zealand’s frail middle order tottered and then collapsed, slumping from 223-4 to be all out for 246 in the 46th over.
New Zealand’s bowling attack was depleted by the absence of fast bowler Trent Boult, who was ill, and allrounder Mitchell Santner, who has a foot injury.
But Henry led the attack superbly, taking 3-60, including the wickets of David Warner (16), George Bailey (33) and Marsh. Ish Sodhi, who replaced Santner, dismissed Smith (21) and Glenn Maxwell (0) and Doug Bracewell, who replaced Boult, removed Khawaja.
McCullum was able to savor a last and memorable win over New Zealand’s greatest rival.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky to play for 14 years and to represent my country and to play with some great blokes,” he said.
“When you play against Australia you have to turn up and play your best cricket and tonight for 80 percent of the game we were outstanding.”