Australia pip New Zealand by a run in T20 thriller

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia bowled exceptionally well at the death to eke out a thrilling one run victory in the see-saw one-off T20 match on Sunday.

Updated: February 16, 2009 18:11 IST
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Brendon McCullum's sizzling 61 off 47 balls went in vain as Australia bowled exceptionally well at the death to eke out a thrilling one run victory in the see-saw one-off Twenty20 International cricket match here on Sunday.

Chasing 151, New Zealand came close to overwhelming the target before losing McCullum at a crucial juncture and eventually finishing at 149 for five wickets.

Needing 14 runs off the last over of the bowling of Nathan Bracken, Nathan McCullum (10 not out) -- Brendon's elder brother -- hit a four and a six off the last two balls but that was still not enough in the end.

Earlier, a Brad Haddin-led Australia got off to a brisk start before losing momentum and it took useful contributions from David Hussey (41), Adam Voges (26) and David Warner (23) to reach a modest total of 150 for seven.

Chasing 151, New Zealand got off to a wobbly start after Peter Siddle removed in-form Martin Guptill (0) and Peter Fulton (1) off successive overs to reduce the visitors to 12 for two.

However, Brendon McCullum and Neil Broom (36) steadied the rocking Kiwi boat with a 61-run stand in eight-odd overs which put the visitors back on the track.

James Hopes removed Broom in the 11th over and Australia would have seen McCullum's back as well but Hussey squandered a catch off his own bowling.

McCullum responded by hitting Hopes for a six followed by back-to-back fours to reach his fifty in that productive 17th over that yielded 20 runs.

Adam Voges then took a sensational catch off Ben Hilfenhaus to remove McCullum and that proved decisive in the end.

Voges caught the ball in the deep, threw it in the air to prevent carrying it across the boundary and returned in time only to trip before he finally dived to complete an astounding catch.

Earlier, Haddin, making his captaincy debut, won the toss and decided to bat first but Australia posted a score that was far from intimidating.

Haddin (15) and Warner (23) began on a brisk note, adding 34 runs before Tim Southee caught the stand-in Aussie skipper off his bowling in the fourth over to draw the first blood.

Four runs later, Warner, who was going great guns, joined Haddin at the pavilion, caught by Daniel Vettori off Iain O'Brien.

Australia subsequently found boundaries were not easy to come by. Next man in Callum Ferguson (8) could not set alight the Sydney Cricket Ground either and fell to fellow debutant Ian Butler.

At 52 for three after seven overs, things were hardly rosy for the hosts but Hussey (41) and Voges (26) then decided to do the bailout act, stitching together a 52-run stand in 7.5 overs, and managed to keep the scoreboard ticking as Vettori and Butler came up with stifling spells.

Hussey ran hard between the wickets and occasionally unleashed himself, like hitting a Grant Elliot low full toss for a flat six.

Elliot, however, made amends in the same over when, two balls later, he trapped Voges plumb in front.

Next man in Cameron White (16) hit a massive six off Butler before falling to O'Brien.

In between, Hussey too perished when Vettori had him caught by Neil Broom after a 39-ball 41.

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