Cricket: Black Caps survive scare to take first blood in Chappell-Hadlee trophy

By David Leggat

Neil Broom. Photo / Getty
Neil Broom. Photo / Getty

Until Marcus Stoinis went boom boom today, you wondered what it is about Eden Park and Australian batsmen.

For the third straight ODI in Auckland, the top order collectively flopped.

The 151 in World Cup pool game in 2015 was followed by a meagre 148 last season.

This match, New Zealand's fourth win in the last four ODIs against the Aussies at home, looked like following suit, as Australia lurched to 67 for six.

They didn't have a prayer, or so it seemed.

Maybe the oddities of the layout spook them. Napier's McLean Park isn't a perfect shape either, with its short square boundaries. That's coming up on Thursday.

Australia had talked about the quirks of the ground before the match, knew not to let eyes get big as saucers but they'd doubtless figure their first problem was letting New Zealand get off a large hook at 134 for five in the 26th over to reach 286 for nine.

A fair chunk of the credit for that, from the other side of the fence, goes to Neil Broom, the 33-year-old who would have figured his international career was over a couple of years ago.

Instead he's becoming an essential figure in the batting group.

His 73 off 75 balls gives him 301 runs since his recall against Bangladesh last month at an average of 100.33. How quickly a players' status can change.

He warmed up with ''a terrible net" on Sunday but showed the old line about a poor dress rehearsal leading to a top notch performance can still ring true.

''To go out there and just get the job done...was pleasing," he said. ''We posted a pretty competitive score in the end."

Broom also does a nice droll line - ''It was an interesting game" - and admitted a feeling of helplessness set in among the New Zealand fielders as Stoinis took control.

''It was pretty special. You feel for Marcus, but we'll take the win," he added.

It's not as if New Zealand haven't got plenty of things to work on this week.

Mitch Santner and Lockie Ferguson were good value, Trent Boult provided a sharp edge, but some of the bowling to Stoinis, who was clearly aiming for the boundaries, was ordinary.

This is certainly a ground which demands quality in planning and accuracy.

New Zealand got a nasty scare today but got away with it, just, and can now see the Chappell Hadlee trophy within reach.

- NZ Herald

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