by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Dharamsala witnessed a historic World Cup game as Australia narrowly defeated New Zealand by five runs in a staggering 771-run combined score, the highest-scoring match in World Cup history.
Australia posted a formidable score of 388, courtesy of Travis Head’s dazzling 109 off 59 balls and David Warner’s 81. The duo’s breathtaking 175-run partnership set the platform for Australia, marking the team’s third consecutive score exceeding 350 in ODIs. Not to be outdone, New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra shone with a 77-ball century, while Daryl Mitchell contributed a swift 54, bringing the Kiwis tantalizingly close to their highest-ever ODI chase.
James Neesham’s valiant 58 off 39 balls brought back memories of the 2019 World Cup final. With the game on the line, Neesham was run out on the penultimate ball, leaving Lockie Ferguson to face Mitchell Starc’s last delivery. Despite prior inconsistency, Starc delivered under pressure, denying New Zealand the six runs needed for victory.
While batsmen from both sides dominated the game, it was the bowlers who made pivotal impacts. Adam Zampa’s three wickets for Australia, including dismissing Mitchell, Latham, and Santner, played a crucial role. On the New Zealand side, Glenn Phillips stood out with his best-ever figures of 3 for 37.
After returning from injury, Head’s performance was particularly noteworthy. Despite his wrist being bandaged, he displayed an explosive form, reaching his century faster than any opener in World Cup history. However, he eventually fell to the guile of Phillips. Following Head and Warner’s departure, the Australian middle-order stumbled momentarily, but Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis, and Pat Cummins ensured they reached a competitive total.
New Zealand began their chase with promise. Despite losing Devon Conway and Will Young early on, Ravindra and Mitchell’s partnership built momentum. After Mitchell’s dismissal, Ravindra accelerated, moving from 50 to 100 in just 28 balls. However, his dismissal and subsequent wickets put New Zealand under pressure.
With the game on a knife-edge, Neesham and the lower order kept New Zealand in the hunt. But in a tense final few overs, Australia’s bowling managed to fend off the Kiwis. This thrilling victory bolstered Australia’s semi-final prospects, while New Zealand was left reflecting on another missed opportunity in Dharamsala.