New Zealand v Australia: Martin Guptill stars as hosts win Twenty20 series

Martin Guptill and Devon Conway made a century opening stand as New Zealand beat Australia by seven wickets to win the Twenty20 series decider.

Australia, who had been 2-0 down in the series before levelling, posted 142-8 with Matthew Wade making 44 and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi taking 3-24.

Guptill (71 off 46) and Conway (36 off 28) broke the back of the chase, sharing 106 in less than 12 overs.

Glenn Phillips (34) hit a six to seal a 3-2 series win with 27 balls to spare.

Australia opted to bat first on a used pitch and promoted Josh Philippe to the top of the order but he fell lbw to Trent Boult for just two in the third over.

Captain Aaron Finch (36 off 32) shared 66 with Wade but fell to Sodhi off the final ball of the 10th over as Australia reached 74-2 at the halfway point.

The back 10 overs saw them lose six wickets for 70 runs with Glenn Maxwell and the promoted Ashton Agar, in an attempt to break up the left-right-hand combinations in the middle order, falling for one and six respectively.

Marcus Stoinis made a run-a-ball 26, and Mitchell Marsh 10, but Australia struggled on a slow pitch with Finch later lamenting that he and Wade were unable to build on their starts.

New Zealand too changed their batting order with Conway opening alongside Guptill, rather than wicketkeeper Tim Seifert.

Unlike the Australia duo of Finch and Wade, the experienced Guptill capitalised on his start as he crashed seven fours and four sixes in his match-defining innings.

Conway, opening for the first time in international cricket, hit three fours and a six before being caught in the covers off Riley Meredith.

Quick bowler Meredith (2-39) trapped Kane Williamson lbw next ball, while Jhye Richardson (1-19) had Guptill caught at short fine leg, but Phillips smashed five fours and two sixes in his 18-ball 34 as the hosts cruised to victory.

New Zealand, who are ranked sixth in the International Cricket Council T20 rankings, have won all five of their Test and T20 series this winter.

Fans were allowed at the game in Wellington after lockdown restrictions, that were implemented after the second game, were lifted in the area.

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