Steve Smith blasted 91 and his second consecutive fifty helped Australia win the three-match series against New Zealand. (Image credit: Cricket Australia Twitter)
New Zealand was boosted by a second consecutive century from Will Young and a fifty from George Worker. However, Australia was boosted by a brilliant 91 from Steve Smith and a blazing 70 from Glenn Maxwell before bad light bought play to a halt in the third and final warm-up game at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane. When play was called off, Australia was ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method and they were declared winners by 16 runs to seal the three-match series 2-1. For the five-time world champions, they will be happy with the form Steve Smith showed in the match as they aim to provide depth to their batting.
New Zealand elected to bat and once again, Worker and Young showed their mettle as they registered a solid 82-run stand for the second wicket. The duo successfully negotiated a fiery spell from Pat Cummins as they laid a solid foundation for New Zealand. Worker scored 59 before he departed to the leg spin of Adam Zampa. New Zealand made steady progress but they could not build a solid stand but Jimmy Neesham joined Young and they got New Zealand over 200.
Young scored a brilliant century and 69-run stand ended when Young was bowled through the gate by Marcus Stoinis for 111. His knock came off 108 balls and it included 13 fours and three sixes. Neesham and William Somerville looked to end on a high for New Zealand but they managed to reach 286/9 at the end of 50 overs. Cummins was the star of the show for Australia with 4/32 while Zampa and Stoinis proved to be expensive, conceding more than eight runs per over.
In response, David Warner fell cheaply while opening while Usman Khawaja fell cheaply. Despite a 65-run stand between Smith and Shaun Marsh, Australia still faced a tricky situation and when Marcus Stoinis fell cheaply, New Zealand held the upper hand. However, Glenn Maxwell changed the equation with some clean hitting and this also helped Smith’s confidence as the duo stitched a 104-run stand. Maxwell’s 70 came off 48 balls and it included six fours and three sixes.
When the match ended due to bad light, Australia was 16 runs ahead and they were declared the winners. Heading into the match, Australia had made five changes with Alex Carey appointed the captain in place of Aaron Finch. Australia will now play two warm-up games against England and Sri Lanka before they begin their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign against Afghanistan in Bristol.