New Zealand beat Australia by 53 runs in first Twenty20
Christchurch: Devon Conway made 99 not out from 59 balls to lead New Zealand to a 53-run win over Australia on Monday in the first of five Twenty20 internationals.
The South African-born Conway improved on his previous high score of 65 in T20 internationals, coming to the crease when New Zealand was 11-2 and leaving unbeaten when it was 184-5 after winning the toss and batting first.
Australia was all out for 131 in reply.
Conway came to the last over of New Zealand's innings 87 not out, took a single, hit a four and a six and was 98 facing the last ball of the innings but could only manage a single to be left just short of a maiden century. New Zealand struggled early against Australia pacemen Daniel Sams, Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson before Conway led a concerted rival.
Sams dismissed New Zealand opener Martin Guptill with the third ball of the innings, then removed captain Kane Richardson (12) while Jhye Richardson bowled Tim Seifert (1) to leave the hosts 19-3.
Conway rebuilt the innings in partnerships of 74 for the fourth wicket with Glenn Phillips (30), 47 for the fifth with Jimmy Neesham (26), and 44 with Mitchell Santner (7).
The wicket was a bit sticky at first but it got better and better as time went on and there were some good partnerships near the end there, Conway said. The key was just trying to stay positive throughout. When I'm positive that's when I'm at my best. It was a matter of not trying to think too far ahead, just try to build good partnerships at the end. Australia also was in trouble early, losing captain Aaron Finch in the first over and Josh Philippe, on debut, in the next over to be 8-2. Both fell to catches by Conway.