Australia rise to World No. 1 Twenty20 ranking with Tri-Series win

By @saihoops on
Aaron Finch, T20 Tri-Series
Australia's Aaron Finch batting against India during their T20 cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia January 29, 2016. Reuters / Hamish Blair

Australia ascended to the World No. 1 ranking in Twenty20 cricket on Wednesday with a 19-run victory (D/L method) over New Zealand in the finals of the Trans-Tasman Twenty20 Tri-Series at Auckland's Eden Park. After restricting New Zealand to 150/9, Australia completed a comfortable win in a rain-curtailed match.

After openers David Warner (25 off 23 balls) and D'Arcy Short (50 off 30 balls) powered Australia to 55/0 in six overs, the match was stopped due to rain. After a short delay, the Aussies reached the 100-run mark in just 13 overs. They were well placed at 121/3 after 14.4 overs when heavier showers poured down from the Auckland skies. It was revealed that the revised D/L target was a mere 103 runs from 14.4 overs. Therefore, Australia were declared winners by 19 runs. 

The hard-hitting middle-order pair of Aaron Finch (20 off 18 balls) and Glenn Maxwell (18 runs off 13 balls) were at the crease when play was called off. Maxwell was named Man of the Series for his tally of 233 runs from five innings, finishing with a whopping batting average of 116.50.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson refused to use the rain interruptions as an excuse for his team's loss. "Though the middle we didn't assess as well as we could have. There was a bit of scarring, and we probably thought we needed more. The rain probably didn't affect the result, that's just the way it goes. With the bat they were ultra-positive, we were looking to take wickets but weren't able to do so," Williamson said via ESPNCricinfo.

David Warner, the Australian captain, was ecstatic at Australia's rise in the shortest format of the game. "Over the moon, from the get-go we played superb cricket, tried to execute everything with energy. We look back the last 18-24 months, people talk about us not taking T20 seriously, but this bunch have come out of the BBL with superb form and I couldn't be prouder of the guys. It proves the great depth in Australia cricket," Warner, who stood-in for Steve Smith, said in the post-match presentation ceremony.

Australia will now embark on a two-month tour of South Africa which will include four Test matches and one first-class match. The first Australia vs South Africa Test will get underway Kingsmead, Durban on March 1. The series will culminate with the fourth and final Test at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.