Blackcaps v Australia: NZ batting star Rachin Ravindra relishing theatre of hostile home crowd for Twenty20 series

Rising Blackcaps star Rachin Ravindra admits the antagonism between Aussie icon David Warner and Kiwi cricket fans has helped spice up an already willing trans-Tasman Twenty20 rivalry.

New Zealand are licking their wounds, after letting a seemingly comfortable victory slip through their fingers in the Chappell-Hadlee series opener at Wellington, as veteran bowler Tim Southee conceded 16 runs off the final over and a boundary off the final ball for a heartbreaking six-wicket defeat.

With 68 runs off 35 balls, Ravindra led a Blackcaps batting effort that set Australia a target of 216 to win, but the loss of him and opener Devon Conway (63 off 46) in consecutive balls - ending a 113-run partnership, probably cost the innings valuable momentum with four overs remaining.

Rachin Ravindra in action for the Blackcaps.
Rachin Ravindra in action for the Blackcaps. Photo credit: Photosport

Warner had the Aussies off to a strong start, with 32 runs off 20 balls, before adding another chapter to his love-hate relationship with local fans, who lustily booed him off the field after his dismissal, as he responded with a mock kiss and a wave.

Ravindra clearly relishes the theatre fuelled by Warner's presence.

"Fans are always going to be passionate and Warner gets it because he's a really good cricketer, at the end of the day," he said.  "You've probably seen, in the past, other really good cricketers come here and they might get abused, but I wouldn't really look into it more than that.

"I think he's a great of the game, he's played three formats for a long period of time and scored a lot of runs. If we can get our fans to continue supporting the Blackcaps, that's all we can ask for."

More than 20,000 spectators helped make Sky Stadium a simmering cauldron for the encounter.

"Playing with fans there and supporting you is always great," reflected Ravindra. "Going out to bat was pretty surreal and having a home crowd fizz up makes you really grateful for the position we're in, being able to showcase our skills to the world."

While he starred with the bat, Ravindra - and his teammates - had some anxious moments in the field. He spilled a difficult catch off Warner, before eventually taking Josh Inglis on the boundary, off Mitch Santner's bowling.

"It was high and the Wellington wind made it swing around," he recalled. "Credit to Santner for getting the wicket, but my heart was in my mouth when the ball went up, to be honest."

The series moves to Auckland for two encounters at Eden Park, a ground even kinder to batters, with its small boundaries. The Wellington fixture produced 431 runs - the 22nd most scored in a T20 international, but even more may be in store over the next four days.

Six years ago, Australia chased down 243 runs at Eden Park - still the third-highest scoring match in history.

"You never know, but we'll still go out with the intent to put on a show and take the game to them, and whatever happens will happen."

Join Newshub at 7pm Friday for live updates of the second Blackcaps v Australia T20