Seasoned India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin once again showed his humorous side on Monday after New Zealand’s Devon Conway played a sensational knock against Australia in the first T20I at the Hagley Oval, Christchurch. New Zealand were reduced to 19/3 before Conway unleashed the beast within himself to hammer an unbeaten 99 off 59 balls and guided the hosts to 184/5 from their 20 overs.
The 29-year-old went unsold in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction last week even though he had set the base price at Rs. 50 lakh and Ashwin was quick to point out the funny side after the batsman played a quality knock.
“Devon Conway is just 4 days late, but what a knock,” Ashwin tweeted.
Put in to bat first, New Zealand suffered an early jolt as Daniel Sams removed opener Martin Guptill for a duck off the third ball of the match.
If Guptill’s poor form wasn’t enough for the New Zealand players, the leading wicket-taker in the tenth season of Big Bash League (BBL) Jhye Richardson castled Tim Seifert in the third over to pile further misery on the host.
Skipper Kane Williamson also got out in the next over as New Zealand lost three wickets before the completion of the Powerplay.
Conway then along with Glenn Phillips put the New Zealand innings back on track. The duo added 74 runs for the fourth wicket before Marcus Stoinis broke the partnership. Stoinis dismissed Phillips in the 13th over to reduce New Zealand to 93/4. Conway continued his fine form and completed his half-century off just 36 balls.
With seven overs left, Conway and Jimmy Neesham decided to go out all out on the Australia’s bowling. In the next three overs, the duo smashed 34 runs.
A fine partnership between the two was broken by Richardson in the 17th over as he dismissed Jimmy Neesham but Conway continued his onslaught to steer New Zealand to 184/5 in the 20 overs.
Carrying on the momentum, New Zealand bowlers ripped through Australia’s top order, reducing them to 19/4 inside the Powerplay. Trent Boult and Tim Southee shared two wickets apiece in their opening spell as Australia were left reeling.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi took four wickets after the field restrictions as New Zealand won the match by 53 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match T20I series.
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