New Zealand came up just short of completing a world record run-chase as Australia held on for a five-run victory in the highest-scoring match in men’s World Cup history.
Australia had posted a whopping 388 and the Kiwis came close, finishing on 383-9 after needing 19 from the final over thanks largely to Rachin Ravindra’s brilliant 116 from 89 balls.
The Aussies – invited to bat first – got off to a searing start in Dharamsala through David Warner and World Cup debutant Travis Head, who smashed 10 sixes in their 118-run first powerplay as part of a 175-run opening partnership.
Head, who recovered from the hand fracture that caused him to sit out his side’s first five matches of the tournament, made his half-century in just 25 deliveries, while Warner took three balls more to reach his milestone.
Glenn Phillips finally started to stop the rot as Warner was caught and bowled, departing for 81 from 65 in the 20th over, then four overs later managed to bowl Head, but not before the 29-year-old had brought up his maiden World Cup century ahead of his departure for 109 off 67 deliveries.
The middle order were decidedly less electric but the Aussies were not finished, piling onto their tally late through Glenn Maxwell (41 from 24), Josh Inglis (38 from 28) and skipper Pat Cummins (37 off 14).
Devon Conway and Will Young got the Kiwis off to a promising start, combining to bring up 50 for New Zealand in just 31 balls, while Ravindra kept the Black Caps’ dreams alive, blasting nine fours and five sixes before he was finally dismissed by Cummins for the critical wicket.
James Neesham, with 58 from 39, kept New Zealand in it but was run out on the penultimate delivery of the innings after a replay, setting the Kiwis what proved to be the impossible task of hitting a six from the final ball.
The Cricket World Cup continues on Sunday as England take on hosts India (8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start), with their qualification hopes in the balance.
New Zealand next face South Africa in Pune on Wednesday (live from 8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start) while Australia will look to extend their winning streak when they face England on November 4 (live from 8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start). Stream the Cricket World Cup and more top sport with NOW