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Finch fires as Aussies win 3rd T20I



Half centuries for Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell have kept Australia's hopes of a series win alive in their best of five match series against New Zealand, thrashing the Black Caps by 64 runs at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Wednesday.


Finch's 69 and Maxwell's blistering 70 from just 31 balls set up Australia's strong score of 4-208 on a slow pitch, before left arm spinner Ashton Agar claimed the best figures by an Australian bowler in T20 Internationals with 6-30 to bowl the side to victory.


An under pressure Finch was lucky to survive his first ball from Tim Southee, struck on the pads in front but hawkeye returning umpires call on leg stump after umpire Chris Gaffaney initially declined the appeal.


Matthew Wade fell early for five but Josh Philippe partnered Finch to add 83, the skipper breaking the shackles to record his first half century in T20 cricket since September of last year.


Philippe rode his luck to make 43 before being well caught by Martin Guptill at long-on, bringing Maxwell to the crease at 2-89 in the 11th over.


Finch reached 69 from 44 balls as he departed to Ish Sodhi, Maxwell upping the tempo after a slow start as he took 28 from one Jimmy Neesham over, including four fours and two sixes.


He fell for 70 from just 31 balls in a thrilling knock, also taking down Tim Southee in some extroardinary hitting, putting a hole in a seat in the process of hitting one of his five sixes, the match played without spectators after a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the country.


Australia's 97th T20I debutant Riley Meredith made an impressive start, claiming the wickets of Tim Seifert (4) and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (9) to reduce the home side to 2-48.


Guptill (43) and first match hero Devon Conway (38) tried to keep the chase on track but wickets fell as the asking rate continued to climb, Ashton Agar claiming three wickets in an over to break the back of the New Zealand innings.


Agar would finish the contest with 6-30 from his four overs, becoming the first Australian bowler with multiple five wicket hauls in the game's shortest format and recording the best figures by an Aussie in T20 internationals.


New Zealand were all out for 144 in 17.3 overs, handing Australia a 64 run triumph to claim their first match of the series, the Black Caps still leading 2-1 ahead of the fourth match which is also in Wellington on Thursday.


IMAGE: Evening Standard.