We should have won. Australia really should have beaten New Zealand in the World T20 match in Dharamsala, India, overnight. And we got close. But Burke and wills got close and look what happened to them. Oh God, this is depressing.
The cold facts: New Zealand made 8 for 142 in their 20 overs. In reply, Australia stuttered to 9/139 to lose the match by eight runs. All credit to the Kiwis. They hung tough and they played smart.
No batsman reached 40 in this match at the picturesque ground in the small northern Indian city where snow has been known to stop play. In the end, it was Australia who froze up.
At the end of the New Zealand innings, you thought our bowlers had done a pretty good job. James Faulkner. Glenn Maxwell and Shane Watson all bowled economically. Australia's first choice spinner Adam Zampa also bowled well, conceding just three runs off his lone over. But why was he then relieved of duties? Just about everyone who follows cricket was asking the same thing.
Why did Zampa only bowl one over #ICCWT20— thetipsman (@thetipsguru) March 18, 2016
Meanwhile Australia's second spinner Ashton Agar went for 18 off his only over. Ouch. But the damage didn't look to matter as New Zealand limped to what appeared a pretty mediocre total.
Australia started its innings as though the team bus would depart with or without them in half an hour. Usman Khawaja in particular looked terrific and there were no real worries for Australian fans even as Shane Watson and Steve Smith departed.
But a brilliant run-out changed everything. With Dave Warner and Khawaja at the crease, Warner struck a ball down the ground which was never really a two. The batsmen tried their luck but Khawaja was just short of his ground. The match was officially alive.
Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh both made scores in the 20s to keep the balance in Australia's favour, but wickets just fell too regularly as Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson cleverly rotated his bowlers. Australia just never got a batting rhythm, especially after Khawaja went.
Even with three overs to go, the equation of 27 runs off 18 balls looked achievable. But the last three overs yielded just 5,3 and 10 runs respectively. And that was that.
After this match played in the shadows of the Himalayas, Australia has a huge mountain to climb to reach the summit of this tournament. Realistically we can't afford another loss. We play Bangladesh next on Monday, then Pakistan, then hosts India.
Australia has never won this tournament. We're the current 50 over World Cup holders and the number one Test nation. But an unprecedented trio of trophies is looking unlikely now. Seriously, you've seen better batting performances from a bunch of blokes with sausages in one hand and a stubbie in the other.
Well played New Zealand, though. They defended a small total in their first match against India and they've done it again.Suggest a correction