Blackcaps v Australia: Australia pull off heartbreaking heist against New Zealand in opening T20 international

The Blackcaps have been denied victory in heartbreaking fashion in a dramatic opening T20 international against Australia, beaten in the final ball of the match at Wellington.

Chasing the hosts' imposing target of 215/3, the Australian run chase appeared to be running out of steam, needing 35 runs off the last two overs, but some startling heroics from newcomer Tim David (31 off 10 balls) left the Aussies needing four off the final delivery of the match from Tim Southee.

David was up to the task, digging out a misguided yorker and placing it agonisingly wide of a diving Glenn Phillips to help his side to a heist in the capital, claiming a six-wicket win and a 1-0 lead in the series.

Rachin Ravindra and Devon Conway.
Rachin Ravindra and Devon Conway. Photo credit: Getty Images

David combined with Player of the Match Mitchell Marsh (72 off 44 balls) for a crucial 44-run stand, spoiling the earlier efforts of hometown heroes Rachin Ravindra (68 off 35) and Devon Conway (63 off 46).

It was a cruel end to a highly entertaining contest, which featured a T20 ground-record 30 sixes.

After winning the toss, New Zealand were off to a flying start through the blazing bat of Finn Allen. The opener continued his purple patch by slamming 32 runs off 17 balls, powering the Blackcaps to 61 in the sixth over, before he miscued Mitchell Starc to David Warner at midwicket.

Conway was then joined at the crease by Ravindra and the local pair steadily built upon the team's very sturdy foundation.

Conway shirked some recent batting demons by bringing up his 10th T20I half-century, while Ravindra worked his way into his own groove. The Wellingtonian hoisted a quartet of sixes en route to a half-century off just 29 deliveries, as the Blackcaps surpassed 150 in the 15th over.

With 68 off 35 balls, Ravindra eventually picked out Starc on the midwicket boundary, bringing a 113-run partnership to a close. He was immediately followed by Conway, who skewed a second catch to Starc, this time off Marsh, to give the Australians two wickets in as many balls.

That brought two fresh batsmen to the crease in Phillips and Mark Chapman for the final sprint, with the Blackcaps still well positioned at 178/3 in the 17th over.

The pair took turns dispatching Starc over the boundary in a 16-run penultimate over, then added 15 runs in the last off Pat Cummins for an imposing total of 215/3 - their second highest score at Sky Stadium.

The Australian response struggled to find its feet early in the face of a disciplined NZ attack.

They lost their first wicket in the fourth over, when Travis Head was well taken by a retreating Tim Southee, after skying a shot off Adam Milne with the score at 29/1.

With the required run rate skyrocketing, captain Marsh and David Warner tried to pull back the ledger, blasting Tim Southee for 22 runs in the fifth over.

Next over, Warner offered up a golden chance with a topedge off Lockie Ferguson, but Ravindra never really sighted it, as he ran backwards from midwicket, misjudging a difficult catch.

David Warner departs.
David Warner departs. Photo credit: Getty Images

After putting Santner into the stands in consecutive balls, Warner mistimed a third to Phillips to depart for 32 off 20 balls - much to the delight of the Wellington crowd, who booed him heartily as he bid them farewell with a kiss.

A peach from Ferguson scuppered a threatening start by Glenn Maxwell, skittling the 'Big Show's' stumps for 25 off 11, but Marsh kept his eye on the prize, reaching his half-century in the 14th over off 29 balls, with his side in good stead at 145/3.

Some sharp bowling from Santner applied momentary clamps and the Australians cracked. Inglis sent one into the clouds and Ravindra did well to reel in a tricky catch, leaving the Aussies needing 43 runs from the final 18 balls.

Ferguson did well to limit the damage to eight runs, only for fearless new batter David to step up with successive sixes to take 19 off Adam Milne's last over.

That left Australia needing 16 runs off Southee in the match's final over. The veteran seamer began well, limiting the damage to four runs off the first three balls.

Then David happened. He struck a tracer bullet pull shot that hit the boundary rope on the full for six runs, snuck through for two off a well-placed yorker, then cleared his front leg and carved a misguided fuller delivery to the leg-side boundary for victory.

Ferguson (1/23 off four overs) was the standout among the Kiwis on a brutal night for bowlers. Santner snared 2/42, Southee finished with 0/52 off his four, while Adam Milne (0/53) was even more expensive.

Australia can wrap up the series with victory in the second match at Auckland's Eden Park on Friday.

New Zealand 215/3 (Ravindra 68, Conway 63) Australia 216/4 (Marsh 72, Tim David 31; Santner 2/42) 

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