Billy Stanlake announced himself on the international stage before Australia cruised to a seven-wicket victory against New Zealand in a rain-affected opener to the Twenty20 tri-series.
After Stanlake’s electrifying 3-15 helped keep New Zealand to 9-117 at the SCG, Chris Lynn (44) and Glenn Maxwell (40 not out) powered Australia to a revised target of 95 with 3.3 overs of the allotted 15 to spare.
Following an hour-long rain delay in the innings break, the pair came to the wicket when David Warner (6) and D’Arcy Short (4) fell early, but neither looked troubled until Lynn was caught on the boundary eight runs shy of the target.
Renowned for being two of the best T20 batsmen in the country, Lynn’s 33-ball knock included six fours and one six, while Maxwell also whacked five fours and one six.
But the star of the show was Stanlake, after he had earlier ripped through the Black Caps’ top order with wickets from his first two balls and another in the second over of his opening spell.
In just his fourth international match, 23-year-old Stanlake nudged 150kph throughout his four overs as he dismissed Colin Munro and Tom Bruce (both made 3).
His in-swinging delivery to remove Martin Guptill was his best, beating the Kiwi star all ends up and taking the top of off-stump.
“That is the most nervous that I have felt in quite a while,” Stanlake told the Nine Network.
“The first over seemed to settle me down a bit so that was nice.”
Such was the early dominance of Stanlake and fellow opening quick Kane Richardson (0-28), they sent down 18 dot balls in the first four overs and held New Zealand to 3-29 in the six-over powerplay.
They also helped to limit Black Caps captain Kane Williamson to the slowest innings of his 47-match international T20 career, before Andrew Tye had him caught off a leading edge at cover for eight off 20 balls.
Tye finished with 4-23, as he returned to clean up the tail and kept world No.2-ranked New Zealand to less than a run a ball in an innings for the first time since 2012.
Only Colin de Grandhomme provided any real counterattack for New Zealand, with his unbeaten 38 from 24 balls featuring three massive sixes square off Tye and Adam Zampa.
It was a poor batting display from New Zealand, with only Colin de Grandhomme (38 off 24 balls), Ross Taylor (24 off 35) and Tom Blundell (14 off 16) making it to double figures.
Maxwell (40 not out) hit the winning runs, smashing Tim Southee straight down the ground for a boundary to seal victory with 21 balls remaining.