Australia have pulled off the highest run chase ever recorded in Twenty20 cricket to claim a dramatic five-wicket victory over New Zealand in their tri-series clash in Auckland.
Set a mammoth 244 to win on Friday night at Eden Park, the visitors achieved their target with seven balls to spare as David Warner (59 off 24 balls) and D’Arcy Short (76 off 44) ran riot.
Warner ended his white-ball form slump in emphatic fashion, smashing five sixes, while Short notched his maiden 50 in his fourth T20 international.
In a tense ending to the high-scoring extravaganza, Marcus Stoinis was run out at the non-striker’s end in the second-last over before Aaron Finch sealed victory with a six.
Two overs earlier, Finch had survived being caught in the deep off a second-consecutive full toss from Ben Wheeler which resulted in him being taken out of the attack.
The result leaves New Zealand needing to defeat England on Sunday in Hamilton to secure a rematch against Australia in Wednesday night’s final at the same venue.
Black Caps opener Martin Guptill earlier scored an astonishing century to leave Australia staring down the barrel of defeat after conceding their worst T20 bowling performance.
Guptill blasted nine sixes on his way to a T20 career-high 105 off 54 balls, taking full advantage of Eden Park’s short boundaries to set up an imposing total of 6-243.
He received handshakes from the Australians and a rave reception from a packed home crowd when he departed, caught by Glenn Maxwell off Andrew Tye’s bowling.
The 31-year-old overtook retired compatriot Brendon McCullum as the highest T20 scorer with 2188 runs.
Fellow opener Colin Munro’s 76 off 33 balls was capped by the left-hander smashing Tye for three-consecutive sixes before being caught in the deep off the next ball.
Both Guptill and Munro targeted Eden Park’s notoriously short, straight boundaries.
Tye (2-64), Marcus Stoinis (0-50), Kane Richardson (2-40) and Billy Stanlake (1-43) all went at more than 10 runs an over, while D’Arcy Short gave up 19 runs in his first international over.
Stanlake’s sole wicket came in bizarre circumstances off a 142.2km/h bouncer that rocketed into Mark Chapman’s helmet, which fell off his head and into the stumps.