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Black Caps claim series



New Zealand has hammered Australia by seven wickets in the deciding 5th T20 International, Martin Guptill's innings of 71 the shining light at Sky Stadium in Wellington on Sunday.


It gave the Black Caps the series three games to two, after Australia had won the third and fourth matches of the series to set up a deciding fifth match.


Australia bucked the trend at the coin toss in choosing to bat first, the previous matches seeing the both Aaron Finch and Kane Williamson chose to field upon winning the toss.


Youngster Josh Philippe moved up to open with captain Finch but fell cheaply to Trent Boult, trapped in front for two to give New Zealand a perfect start with the ball.


Finch and Matthew Wade steadied with a 66 run stand, setting the foundations for a big score in excess of 160.


Spin worked the oracle for New Zealand, Finch holing out for 36 off the bowling of leg spinner Ish Sodhi, before part time left arm orthodox spinner Mark Chapman claimed the huge scalp of Glenn Maxwell in the following over for one, Australia 3-77.


Wade was the key for the visitors following those key dismissals, taking the score past 100 in partnership with Marcus Stoinis as boundary hitting proved difficult.


The innings lost momentum when Wade (44) and Stoinis (26) departed, Sodhi the star with the ball in claiming 3-24 from his four overs while Tim Southee claimed two wickets in the final over as Australia ended up with a total of 8-142.


The chase was never in doubt from the moment opening pair Martin Guptill and Devon Conway added 106 for the first wicket at almost ten an over, Guptill thrashing Adam Zampa for three sixes in one over to raise his second half century of the series.


Conway, who moved up to open in place of Tim Seifert made 36 before picking out deep point Ashton Agar from the bowling of Riley Meredith.


The Australian quick made it wickets in consecutive balls when he trapped Kane Williamson in front for a golden duck, the second time Meredith has dismissed New Zealand's captain and star batsman in the series.


Guptill continued on to make 71 before being bounced out by Jhye Richardson having hit seven fours and four sixes, Glenn Phillips raising victory in fine style with a six over long on off Zampa to seal the series triumph.


Spinner Sodhi was adjudged the player of the series for his 13 wickets at 12.07, leading wicket taker in the series having played in all five matches while Guptill was player of the match for his blistering knock with the bat.


Australia's summer of cricket has now concluded, with players set to return home to observe two weeks quarantine before playing domestic cricket and heading to the Indian Premier League, while New Zealand will prepare for a home white ball series against Bangladesh later this month.


IMAGE: ESPN Cricinfo.