Conway stars as New Zealand thrash Australia

By Sports Desk February 22, 2021

Devon Conway starred with the bat at Hagley Oval as New Zealand won the first of five Twenty20 clashes with Australia by 53 runs.

Conway was 99 not out, becoming the first New Zealand player to score five successive T20 half centuries, as the Black Caps posted 184-5.

A fine showing with the ball, led by Ish Sodhi's 4-28, limited Australia to 131 all out in reply as the hosts enjoyed a dominant victory in Christchurch, a city remembering the devastating earthquakes that struck 10 years ago.

Martin Guptill started this match needing 12 runs to surpass Brendon McCullum's record as the highest run-scorer in this fixture (228) but was dismissed for a duck, caught at backward point off the bowling of Daniel Sams.

New Zealand looked to be in serious trouble when captain Kane Williamson's departure in the fourth over left them on 19-3 and with a lot of work to do.

But Conway laid the foundations with a fine knock, which came up just shy of yielding a century despite 10 fours and three maximums.

Conway was on 88 when he got on strike with three balls left, sending the first for a six and the next one for four, but he could only manage a single off the final delivery.

Aaron Finch's side, having lost back-to-back series against England and India, toiled in response.

Finch himself fell inside the first over and that set the tone, with Australia languishing on 19-4 by the fifth over.

Sodhi was the tormentor-in-chief for the tourists' mid-to-lower order, accounting for Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Sams and Kane Richardson.

Jhye Richardson, who fetched a "life-changing" bid at the Indian Premier League auction, was the last man to fall in a substandard innings from Australia that was ended after 17.3 overs.

This was just the second home win for New Zealand over Australia in this format in six attempts, with the teams set to meet again on Thursday.

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    The Caribbean team, who are the defending champions, was routed by England in the first match where they lost by six wickets after being bowled out for 55.  In the second encounter against South Africa, on Tuesday. after a promising start the team was dismissed for a subpar 143, which the Proteas easily chased down to win by 8 wickets.

    The loss leave the West Indies rooted at the bottom of the six-team table, with a net run rate of -2.550.  With only the top two teams set to advance to the final four, the Windies are already facing an uphill battle to move on to the next round.  

    “Well, we just have to do what it takes,” a dejected Pollard said following the team’s loss to South Africa.

    “We have to dig deeper as a team. We have to dig deeper as a batting unit,” he added.

    “We have to get wins on the board now. We’ve put ourselves in a position whereas from a run rate perspective that’s pretty low, and from a win percentage we haven’t won any games.

    “So we have to win the next three games. We just have to take it one at a time and try to improve each and every time.”

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    West Indies captain Kieron Pollard did not speculate on Quinton de Kock's refusal to take the knee, but suggested education is a major issue when it comes to the gesture.

    South Africa were without their talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman for Tuesday's T20 World Cup match, which they still won despite De Kock's absence.

    The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday decided that all players must take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

    De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture and opted not to play against the Windies at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday following the demand from CSA.

    Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said South Africa players were "taken aback" by De Kock's decision, with the batsman unsure whether the former skipper will play any further part in the World Cup.

    Asked about the incident following the Windies' eight-wicket defeat, Bavuma's opposite number Pollard told reporters: "Me personally, I don't know of any player who didn't want to take it. I'm not aware of that.

    "So this is sort of news to us or to me. But you know, you guys know our thoughts on this matter. It's something that we feel strongly about as a team and as a people, as well, and we will continue to do it.

    "Each and everyone has their own opinions on it, but as I've always said, once you're educated, and you understand, we will understand you doing it, but I think education sort of is the key, and we don't want anyone doing it for us in solitude or to feel sorry for us.

    "I'm not aware of which individual you speak about, but I'm guessing afterwards someone will increase my knowledge capacity on what actually transpired."

    Pollard was then informed it was De Kock who had withdrawn his participation in the game and was asked if he believes conversations should be held with the South Africa star to educate him on the issue.

    "Again, I can't speak on something that I don't know," Pollard replied. "I guess you guys know more than me.

    "If I sit here, I'm going to speculate as to what actually transpired in all honesty. Again, if it's an educational thing, I guess then there's persons are wrong to educate.

    "I don't think it's my job at this present time to educate. I think I have a lot more on my plate in terms of leading our team, and we're in a position where we need to win cricket games. I don't think that's my forte at the minute."

    Pollard hit three boundaries, including a six, in a knock of 26 from 20 deliveries against South Africa, as well as going for nine off the only over he bowled as holders the Windies slumped to a second defeat of the Super 12 after their capitulation against England.

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